Domesticating low and zero carbon energy technology in new homes: pivotal events, determining configurations and influential feedback

Lise Andreassen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Recent and forthcoming amendments to the Building Regulations in England and Wales will necessitate an increasing reliance on low and zero carbon (LZC) energy technologies in new homes to meet tougher carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards; this will impact on those that design, build, regulate and live in new homes. Given the shifts in domestic energy technology configurations that will be encountered, it is prudent to consider how interactions between householders and LZC technology develop, as this will influence the success of this shift in terms of CO2 reductions achieved. This is the objective of this thesis.

An early test-bed for the accelerated introduction of LZC technology into new homes is provided by certain local authorities that have adopted innovative planning policies. One such local authority was selected as the study area for this research, in which a borough-wide survey of new home occupants was undertaken, followed by semi-structured householder interviews.

Using methodological and theoretical perspectives from science and technology studies, the research finds that LZC technology-householder associations are influenced by a myriad of factors (including structural, technological, experiential, social and institutional ones) and that their development should be viewed as an on-going process open to influence and change. The thesis concludes that the range of interactions observed between householders and their LZC technologies, together with the high prevalence of faulty installations, signifies that the change envisaged and driven by local policy-makers (in terms of projected CO2 reductions) is only partially underway. More specifically, the thesis’s original contributions include advances in current knowledge relating to, firstly, how householders engage with feedback associated with LZC technology; secondly, the extent of interactions between LZC technology-users within developments; thirdly, the extent of maintenance and repair processes and how these shape householders and technology; and, fourthly, the gendered nature of LZC technology-householder associations.

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dodds, Klaus, Supervisor
  • Dolton, Michael, Supervisor
  • Loftus, Alexander, Supervisor
Award date1 Apr 2015
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


  • low and zero carbon technology
  • new homes
  • householders
  • technology studies version of domestication theory
  • Merton Rule
  • relevance
  • research/policy interface

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