University of Sussex
Parrish, Bryony.pdf (2.36 MB)

Uptake, use, and learning about new home technologies to reduce energy system emissions: policy implications from different problem framings

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posted on 2023-06-10, 03:34 authored by Bryony Parrish
In the UK and beyond, new end-use technologies are widely expected to enable households to reduce energy system emissions as part of action on climate change. However, there are different ways to understand problems and solutions associated with this proposition. UK energy policy focusses on designing, identifying, and promoting the uptake of promising technologies, implicitly assuming that technologies’ impact will follow their adoption in a predictable way, but alternative problem framings draw attention to how the meaning and use of technologies emerge as they become part of everyday life. For example, domestication theory highlight how technology impact emerges from households’ learning during technology uptake and use. This thesis draws on contrasting problem framings to provide policy-relevant insights into household engagement with two technologies expected to decrease energy system emissions in the UK. Two papers on residential demand response employ systematic review methodology to identify insights that may help to promote engagement with residential demand response and inform assumptions about how much flexibility it could provide the UK electricity system as part of decarbonisation. Meanwhile, two papers on smart hybrid heat pumps make use of process analysis informed by domestication theory to investigate users’ learning about this novel lower carbon heating technology. One suggests ways to influence users’ learning about smart hybrid heat pumps to support UK energy policy objectives, while the other develops conceptualisations of learning in domestication theory by proposing a framework of four learning processes. The thesis concludes by discussing opportunities and limitations for different problem framings to inform energy policy, and opportunities for further research into users’ learning to support deeper emissions reductions.


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  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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