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Stepping outside the comfort zone : implementing electricity-saving practices on the municipal level taking a practice theory perspective

Steiniger, Helen Lara LU (2013) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM01 20131
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
In this thesis, the effectiveness of municipal climate policies aiming to influence citizens’ electricity consumption to address the sustainability challenge of climate change was investigated. The cases of two policies of the city of Frankfurt am Main, the electricity-saving counselling and electricity-saving premium, were considered. A qualitative research approach was taken, by conducting twenty semi-structured interviews
with ten users of each policy. The aim was to find out how the two policies affect the citizens’ standby consumption and home lighting practices using a Practice Theory perspective. This approach entailed
considering the role of materials, theoretical and practical competences, as well as meanings in forming... (More)
In this thesis, the effectiveness of municipal climate policies aiming to influence citizens’ electricity consumption to address the sustainability challenge of climate change was investigated. The cases of two policies of the city of Frankfurt am Main, the electricity-saving counselling and electricity-saving premium, were considered. A qualitative research approach was taken, by conducting twenty semi-structured interviews
with ten users of each policy. The aim was to find out how the two policies affect the citizens’ standby consumption and home lighting practices using a Practice Theory perspective. This approach entailed
considering the role of materials, theoretical and practical competences, as well as meanings in forming practices with a low-carbon impact. The study showed that while citizens usually have access to electricity-saving materials, their theoretical and practical competences are often not sufficient to use the materials in a consistent way. Also, unfavourable meanings inconvenience and stinginess related to electricity-saving practices frequently supersede the meanings of thrift which is favourable for the diffusion of low-electricity consumption practices. In their current design neither the electricity-saving counselling nor the electricity-saving premium convey these favourable competences and meanings effectively. A main reason identified for this lack of effectiveness is that the policies were designed based on a traditional
behavioural change model rather than a Practice Theory approach. The latter recognises that efficiency strategies towards CO2-reductions are insufficient in tackling climate change. Instead a path of sufficiency is
required to design policies in a way that can effectively lead to the diffusion of low-electricity consumption practices. It is crucial that policy-makers themselves engage in the low-carbon practices they endorse, thereby contributing to their further diffusion. Combining Practice Theory approaches with insights from sufficiency research can improve the effectiveness of municipal climate change policies so that actors at the local level can take a more pronounced role in climate change mitigation efforts. (Less)
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author
Steiniger, Helen Lara LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM01 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
lighting in households, standby power consumption, sustainability science, municipal climate policies, sufficiency
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2013:013
language
English
id
3864114
date added to LUP
2013-06-19 16:13:23
date last changed
2013-06-19 16:13:23
@misc{3864114,
  abstract     = {In this thesis, the effectiveness of municipal climate policies aiming to influence citizens’ electricity consumption to address the sustainability challenge of climate change was investigated. The cases of two policies of the city of Frankfurt am Main, the electricity-saving counselling and electricity-saving premium, were considered. A qualitative research approach was taken, by conducting twenty semi-structured interviews
with ten users of each policy. The aim was to find out how the two policies affect the citizens’ standby consumption and home lighting practices using a Practice Theory perspective. This approach entailed
considering the role of materials, theoretical and practical competences, as well as meanings in forming practices with a low-carbon impact. The study showed that while citizens usually have access to electricity-saving materials, their theoretical and practical competences are often not sufficient to use the materials in a consistent way. Also, unfavourable meanings inconvenience and stinginess related to electricity-saving practices frequently supersede the meanings of thrift which is favourable for the diffusion of low-electricity consumption practices. In their current design neither the electricity-saving counselling nor the electricity-saving premium convey these favourable competences and meanings effectively. A main reason identified for this lack of effectiveness is that the policies were designed based on a traditional
behavioural change model rather than a Practice Theory approach. The latter recognises that efficiency strategies towards CO2-reductions are insufficient in tackling climate change. Instead a path of sufficiency is
required to design policies in a way that can effectively lead to the diffusion of low-electricity consumption practices. It is crucial that policy-makers themselves engage in the low-carbon practices they endorse, thereby contributing to their further diffusion. Combining Practice Theory approaches with insights from sufficiency research can improve the effectiveness of municipal climate change policies so that actors at the local level can take a more pronounced role in climate change mitigation efforts.},
  author       = {Steiniger, Helen Lara},
  keyword      = {lighting in households,standby power consumption,sustainability science,municipal climate policies,sufficiency},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Stepping outside the comfort zone : implementing electricity-saving practices on the municipal level taking a practice theory perspective},
  year         = {2013},
}