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Title: Lost in transition? : an exploration of attempts to reduce energy consumption by UK households
Author: Kukla, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 945X
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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As significant energy consumers, UK households need to reduce their energy use if the UK is to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets. Low levels of engagement and adoption rates of energy curtailment measures need to be overcome. Policies perceived as ‘fair’ can increase levels of engagement and acceptability. This thesis explores how households approach reducing their own energy use, the reductions they can achieve and any existing barriers. Households’ perception of what is ‘fair’ in the context of energy reductions is explored based on households' own experiences of energy reduction. Households recruited from the South East of England participated in a mixed-methods study attempting to reduce their energy use over a 12-month period. Provided with estimates of their carbon footprints and a comparison to the UK average, the participants discussed their energy use, reductions and perceptions of how reductions could be encouraged fairly. Participants’ energy use was something of an enigma, as were the associated GHG emissions. However, its use was protected and seen as ‘acceptable’ and ‘necessary’ for them to be comfortable in their day-to-day lives. Reducing their energy use was seen as possible and acceptable in areas of energy use viewed as ‘wasteful’ or ‘unnecessary’. While seen as possible, these targets were not necessarily achievable, with 50 per cent of the participants making measurable reductions, and 50 per cent unable to. Energy reductions of ten per cent were seen as possible, even by those unable to reduce, with little scope to move beyond this as participants did not know what they should or could do next. To move forward participants viewed fairness as important, citing energy reductions needing to be a valid, legitimate aim of society; with required reductions being achievable, supported by information, and placing the burden of responsibility on those who use the most.
Supervisor: Jackson, Tim ; Druckman, Angela Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available