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The adoption process of low-carbon home retrofit among UK homeowners: a socio-technical perspective and system dynamics model

Bobrova, Yekatherina; (2020) The adoption process of low-carbon home retrofit among UK homeowners: a socio-technical perspective and system dynamics model. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The promotion of low-carbon home retrofit among UK homeowners is widely recognised as an important strategy to reduce energy consumption and mitigate climate change. The current literature points to a lack of understanding of the combined links between retrofit motivation, decision processes, physical characteristics of low-carbon retrofits and post-retrofit energy use. To address this issue, the thesis conceptualises low-carbon retrofit as an innovation process situated in the context of meanings people attach to their homes. The research uses a multiple-case study design approach in an empirical analysis of eight home retrofit case studies of homeowners, who achieved more than 60% carbon emission reductions as a result of retrofit activities. The theoretical framework for the thesis uses the notion of affordance to develop a framework of home-meanings, and combines it with Rogers’ innovation diffusion theory to conceptualise retrofit as a process, situated and shaped by the conditions of everyday life. Hockey’s motivation control theory of fatigue is used to develop a system dynamics simulation model and develop insights into the implementation difficulties during low-carbon retrofit process. The main insights of the thesis are: (i) low-carbon homes are associated with enhanced feelings of comfort, safety, security and control, as well as an identity of a broader social responsibility; (ii) low-carbon home retrofit as an innovation encompasses three aspects: a product, a design option and a socio-technical system; (iii) homeowners collect information through different communication channels, which are non-substitutable by one another; (iv) a positive retrofit experience for homeowners is necessary for low post-retrofit energy use, as well as to persuade others to retrofit their homes. A feeling of control over the retrofit experience, which can be achieved through a step-by-step retrofit approach, might ease the implementation burden for homeowners. Future research is necessary to investigate how such feeling is established during retrofit.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The adoption process of low-carbon home retrofit among UK homeowners: a socio-technical perspective and system dynamics model
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: low-carbon, home retrofit, homeowners, UK, system dynamics, case study, home-meanings, innovation diffusion, motivation control theory of fatigue
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096936
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