The EU-funded project ‘Sustainable Consumption Research Exchanges’ (SCORE!) consists of around 200 experts in the field of sustainable innovation and sustainable consumption. The SCORE! philosophy is that innovation in SCP policy can be achieved only if experts that understand business development, (sustainable) solution design, consumer behaviour and system innovation policy work together in shaping it. Sustainable technology design can be effective only if business can profitably make the products and consumers are attracted to them. To understand how this might effectively happen, the expertise of systems thinkers must be added to the mix.
The publication in 2008 of System Innovation for Sustainability 1 was the first result of a unique positive confrontation between experts from all four communities. It examined what SCP is and what it could be, provided a state-of-the-art review on the governance of change in SCP policy and looked at the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches.
System Innovation for Sustainability 4 is the third of three books of case studies covering respectively the three key consumption areas of mobility, food and agriculture, and energy use and the built environment – responsible for 70% of the life-cycle environmental impacts of Western societies – with the aim of stimulating, fostering or forcing change to SCP theory in practice.
Energy consumption is obviously a key issue for sustainability, primarily because it depletes non-renewable fossil fuels, produces CO2 and other pollution. As climate change is becoming a key political issue, and as oil prices rise, society has become acutely aware of this issue. Energy is a special case because it is a key input to almost all other consumption and production processes.
Housing is, with transport and food, a major consumer of energy, accounting for about one quarter of the environmental impact from the general consumption of products in the European Union, on a par with food and transport. Energy use in houses and buildings is also set to rise as populations – and the buildings they need –continue to increase. In France, for example, energy consumption in houses and offices accounts for 43% of the total national energy consumption, and one-quarter of national greenhouse gas emissions. The UK’s 21 million homes consume around 50 million tonnes of oil equivalent (responsible for 27% of UK CO2 emissions); this energy use has increased steadily by about 1.3% per year since 1990. Germany’s buildings contribute one-fifth of the country’s CO2 emissions.
Beyond this, buildings are the environment where we spend most of our lives; they deeply influence many other consumption patterns, and are an important factor for life and comfort. The societal function and nature of buildings as they are currently constructed presents some key difficulties in moving towards sustainable consumption and production. Buildings have a long lifetime; and therefore they are a major target for any structural changes in consumption patterns. Conversely, long lifetimes come with associated strong inertia; therefore the stock of existing buildings is often an obstacle to policies aimed at behavioural change.
This book examines, through a case study approach, opportunities to influence energy consumption in housing and buildings and thereby provide options for implementation at a macro, meso and micro level. A growing body of evidence shows that cases demonstrating action towards SCP in energy use in housing can inspire innovation through a range of actors. The cases include examples of steps towards the sustainable use of energy in houses and buildings, from ‘local experiments’, to ‘innovative communities’, to wider regime or non-local scale change in Europe and North America.
The ‘System Innovation for Sustainability’ series is the fruit of the first major international research network on SCP and will set the standard in this field for some years to come. It will be required reading for all involved in the policy debate on sustainable production and consumption from government, business, academia and NGOs for designers, scientists, businesses and system innovators.
Saadi Lahlou, EDF R&D, Clamart, France; London School of Economics and Political Science, London UK; Martin Charter and Tim Woolman, The Centre for Sustainable Design, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK; and Arnold Tukker, TNO Built Environment
2. Energy use in houses and buildings and sustainable consumption
Saadi Lahlou, EDF R&D, France; London School of Economics and Political Science, UK Martin Charter and Tim Woolman, The Centre for Sustainable Design, UK
3. An innovative approach to designing zero-energy residential buildings in Boston: enhancing and monitoring learning
Halina Szejnwald Brown, Clark University, USA and Philip J. Vergragt, Tellus Institute, USA; Clark University, USA
4. S-House: sustainable building utilising renewable resources — Factor 10 building with innovative solutions.
Robert Wimmer and Myung-Joo Kang, Centre for Appropriate Technology, Austria
5. Rolf Disch’s Solarsiedlung am Schlierberg: a solar housing estate in Freiburg; from architectural vision to entrepreneurial reality
Rolf Wüstenhagen, Institute for Economy and the Environment, Switzerland
6. Delivering affordable and sustainable energy: the results of innovative approaches by Woking Borough Council, UK
John P. Thorp, Group Managing Director, Thameswey Ltd, UK
7. Energy-saving performance contracting for federally owned public buildings: success factors from the Austrian perspective
Ingrid Kaltenegger, Joanneum Research, Graz, Austria and Angelika Tisch, Inter-university Research Centre, Graz, Austria
8. Building Investment Decision Support (BIDS™) for green building technologies
Vivian Loftness, Volker Hartkopf, Azizan Aziz, Megan Snyder, Joonho Choi and Xiaodi Yang, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
9. Consumer feedback: a helpful tool for stimulating electricity conservation? A review of experience
Corinna Fischer, Institute for Applied Ecology, Freiburg, Germany
10. Lifestyle dynamics as a means toward the sustainability transition
Fritz Reusswig, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PKI), Germany, Sylvia Lorek, Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI), Austria and Doris Fuchs, University of Münster, Germany
11. Conclusions: steps towards more sustainable energy use in housing
Saadi Lahlou, Tim Woolman, Martin Charter and Arnold Tukker
Professor Saadi Lahlou (ENSAE, PhD, HDR) is currently director of the Institute of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK). He spent many years in industry, recently at Electricité de France as strategic adviser to the Director of R&D; where he founded in 2000 the Laboratory of Design for Cognition (a large living laboratory to develop office work environments), previously as the Director of the Consumer Research Department of the Research Centre for Lifestyles and Social Policies (Crédoc, Paris). Lahlou as a specialist of behaviour and consumer science developed several innovative techniques for activity observation, including the SubCam technique — a head-worn miniature videocamera providing a first-person-perspective detailed recording. His Installation Theory provides a strategic framework for societal change management to innovators, decision-makers and governments.