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Title: Participation in the UK National Home Energy Efficiency Programmes : a study of homeowners' perspectives
Author: McAlinden, Lenka
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 8797
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2011
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Since the 1970s, energy efficiency programmes have formed an integral part of the UK's strategy to reduce energy consumption in the home. From the outset, individual programme elements, such as approaches to behaviour change, were subject to some research but programmes were often criticized for failing to achieve large-scale participation. Even now, few comprehensive and cross-disciplinary examinations of people's perceptions of existing programmes have been carried out. This thesis sought to investigate, from the homeowners' perspectives, the efficacy of these programmes: it reviewed pro-environmental behaviour change theories and identified energy programmes' key aspects before proposing an evidence-based theoretical framework for the design of future programmes. Primary data were collected from 721 homeowners participating or enquiring about current programmes by means of a questionnaire, which enabled the identification of motivating and hindering factors and programmes' features that encourage/discourage homeowners' participation. Fifty semi-structured interviews clarified issues affecting homeowners' decisions whether or not to participate. The empirical data enabled the assessment of programmes using two rating scales: the first identified the level of significance of the barriers and motivators to homeowners; the second measured how successfully homeowners felt the programmes addressed them. The results were used to develop a new framework to guide future programmes' design. The findings show that while participating homeowners are generally satisfied with the programmes, making the decision to participate is largely influenced by comprehensive and holistic communication and the availability of a wide variety of measures and economic incentives. The findings demonstrate that advice and education programmes should form an intrinsic part of the more technical programmes, which should be much more localized. Even though the empirical part of the study has been carried out before the new government initiative 'Green Deal' was introduced, the research findings have direct implications for its design and dissemination careful consideration must be given to: who will administer the programme; how the current lack of trust in programmes and funding bodies can be overcome; and how to ensure accurate two-way conversation.
Supervisor: Burton, Elizabeth ; Dair, Carol Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral