Designing and implementing initiatives for sustainable transitions in residential energy use

Reducing domestic energy use and related carbon emissions is a priority for national and European policy. A transition toward sustainable household energy use will require radical shifts in patterns of production and consumption that can only be brought about through systemic change involving multiple actors across all levels of society. Key considerations include the development, adaptation and diffusion of new technologies, coupled with significant changes in the socio-material organisation of resource-intensive practices including heating and cooling homes, mobility practices, washing, cooking and storing food, etc. However, this kind of systemic thinking rarely translates into policy and planning, which is dominated by a mix of technological, economic and behavioural approaches. This is despite ample evidence that technological improvements alone will not deliver the necessary reductions in carbon emissions to meet climate goals and targeting individuals to change their behaviour brings about limited success. There is therefore an urgent need for new ways of understanding and addressing energy demand concerns.

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