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Mainstreaming best practices in energy demand

Breukers, Sylvia; Backhaus, Julia and Mont, Oksana LU (2011) ECEEE 2011 In ECEEE 2011
Abstract
It is becoming increasingly clear that we need an integrated

approach to understanding and encouraging transitions towards

a sustainable energy system. Current overall unsustainable

‘practices’ are locked into cultural, material, institutional

and infrastructural settings. This limits the scope for individual

choice and action. Even when actions are taken on individual

or project level, they often remain stand-alone niche experiments

and little further diffusion takes place. This paper addresses

this problem by investigating how new more sustainable

practices in the field of energy demand at the micro level

can become mainstream and how energy demand... (More)
It is becoming increasingly clear that we need an integrated

approach to understanding and encouraging transitions towards

a sustainable energy system. Current overall unsustainable

‘practices’ are locked into cultural, material, institutional

and infrastructural settings. This limits the scope for individual

choice and action. Even when actions are taken on individual

or project level, they often remain stand-alone niche experiments

and little further diffusion takes place. This paper addresses

this problem by investigating how new more sustainable

practices in the field of energy demand at the micro level

can become mainstream and how energy demand side management

projects can encourage this.

We first discuss how a multilevel systems approach and practice

theory may be fruitfully combined to address the problem

of mainstreaming. Second, we analyse four empirical cases of

energy demand side management. We explore efforts at diffusing

these sustainable energy practices, the encountered challenges,

employed solutions and achieved outcomes with the

goal of learning about opportunities to mainstream best practices

in the field of energy demand. The analysis reveals that the

case that involved the most radical innovation faced the highest

resistance to mainstreaming from the incumbent system. The

more incremental initiatives were more successful at diffusing,

but had rather modest outcomes in terms of environmental and

efficiency gains. An important finding is that in order to shift

everyday practices to a more sustainable direction, an understanding

of possibilities to trigger changes in social norms is

needed. When these changes are quite invasive, more time for

negotiation and discussion might be needed before they become

regarded as legitimate. Furthermore, connecting supply

and demand (instead of merely addressing the demand side)

can be crucial in mainstreaming sustainable energy practices.

Although lessons learned from the cases do not offer clear-cut

‘do’s and don’ts’ for future efforts, they do highlight important

issues for mainstreaming sustainable practices. These issues

can sometimes be addressed within the scope of a single energy

demand side project, but often policy has an important

facilitating role to play in making sustainable energy practices

legitimate and mainstream. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
energy demand, management behaviour, practces
in
ECEEE 2011
pages
11 pages
publisher
ECEEE
conference name
ECEEE 2011
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1d98fec5-2fe8-4dd3-8ff4-e362f8fab7cd (old id 2154965)
date added to LUP
2011-09-07 12:45:09
date last changed
2016-04-16 09:45:22
@inproceedings{1d98fec5-2fe8-4dd3-8ff4-e362f8fab7cd,
  abstract     = {It is becoming increasingly clear that we need an integrated<br/><br>
approach to understanding and encouraging transitions towards<br/><br>
a sustainable energy system. Current overall unsustainable<br/><br>
‘practices’ are locked into cultural, material, institutional<br/><br>
and infrastructural settings. This limits the scope for individual<br/><br>
choice and action. Even when actions are taken on individual<br/><br>
or project level, they often remain stand-alone niche experiments<br/><br>
and little further diffusion takes place. This paper addresses<br/><br>
this problem by investigating how new more sustainable<br/><br>
practices in the field of energy demand at the micro level<br/><br>
can become mainstream and how energy demand side management<br/><br>
projects can encourage this.<br/><br>
We first discuss how a multilevel systems approach and practice<br/><br>
theory may be fruitfully combined to address the problem<br/><br>
of mainstreaming. Second, we analyse four empirical cases of<br/><br>
energy demand side management. We explore efforts at diffusing<br/><br>
these sustainable energy practices, the encountered challenges,<br/><br>
employed solutions and achieved outcomes with the<br/><br>
goal of learning about opportunities to mainstream best practices<br/><br>
in the field of energy demand. The analysis reveals that the<br/><br>
case that involved the most radical innovation faced the highest<br/><br>
resistance to mainstreaming from the incumbent system. The<br/><br>
more incremental initiatives were more successful at diffusing,<br/><br>
but had rather modest outcomes in terms of environmental and<br/><br>
efficiency gains. An important finding is that in order to shift<br/><br>
everyday practices to a more sustainable direction, an understanding<br/><br>
of possibilities to trigger changes in social norms is<br/><br>
needed. When these changes are quite invasive, more time for<br/><br>
negotiation and discussion might be needed before they become<br/><br>
regarded as legitimate. Furthermore, connecting supply<br/><br>
and demand (instead of merely addressing the demand side)<br/><br>
can be crucial in mainstreaming sustainable energy practices.<br/><br>
Although lessons learned from the cases do not offer clear-cut<br/><br>
‘do’s and don’ts’ for future efforts, they do highlight important<br/><br>
issues for mainstreaming sustainable practices. These issues<br/><br>
can sometimes be addressed within the scope of a single energy<br/><br>
demand side project, but often policy has an important<br/><br>
facilitating role to play in making sustainable energy practices<br/><br>
legitimate and mainstream.},
  author       = {Breukers, Sylvia and Backhaus, Julia and Mont, Oksana},
  booktitle    = {ECEEE 2011},
  keyword      = {energy demand,management behaviour,practces},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {11},
  publisher    = {ECEEE},
  title        = {Mainstreaming best practices in energy demand},
  year         = {2011},
}