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Title: Understanding teleological influences on owner-occupier home improvements : implications for encouraging low carbon retrofit
Author: Hipwood, Tara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 4636
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2018
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Despite widespread recognition of the need to decarbonise existing housing stocks, there remain limitations in the way this problem is theorised and addressed. Practice theory has sought to move away from the individualism and assumptions of rational-choice that have underpinned previous studies, but has still relied on comparisons of accounts of practices between individuals. Furthermore, these practice-based studies have encountered their own challenges with regards to adequately conceptualising 'large' phenomena such as retrofit, as well as addressing issues of variations in practitioner competence, and tractability. Drawing on 31 in-depth interviews and walk-through tours with affluent owner-occupiers who were currently, or had recently undertaken home improvement projects, this thesis examines why, and how some of these projects incorporated low carbon retrofit measures, while others did not. The relationships between the components of practice, both within and between practices are examined to identify how they connect to the wider nexus of practices that extends beyond the home. Particular attention is given to understanding the connective power of teleological influences on home improvements (RQ1); the connections between these teleological influences, home improvement measures and competences (RQ2); and the implications of this enhanced understanding for encouraging higher rates of retrofit (RQ3). Furthermore, the thesis employs a methodology that facilitates adoption of the home improvement measure as the unit of analysis, rather than the individual. It is proposed that this is not only more appropriate to the ontological assumptions underpinning practice theory, but also to specialisations within the construction industry. In conclusion, this thesis proposes a series of teleological constellations (i.e. structures of practices connected by shared goals) that provide a theoretical tool to further our empirical understanding of how low carbon home improvements fit within the wider nexus of practices. These connections, in turn, have implications for the way in which policy seeks to induce higher levels of low carbon retrofit in order to help meet national CO2 reduction targets and contribute to addressing global climate change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General)