"Governance, Infrastructure, Lifestyle Dynamics and Energy Demand: European Post-Carbon Communities"
Start date: 01 Dec 2008,
End date: 30 Apr 2012
"In Europe, about 35% of all primary energy use and 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from private households. While technological innovation can make low-carbon energy sources economically and environmentally viable, their impact in reducing carbon-intensive energy use will depend critically on broad public and political commitment to such a reduction. GILDED will target socio-economic, cultural and political influences on individual and household energy consumption through five regional case studies. Each case study focuses on a medium-sized city along with nearby rural areas. Investigating individuals’ lifestyle choices and their understanding of energy issues will provide insights into patterns of energy-related behaviours characterising emergent lifestyle types, and the particular drivers impacting on consumption decisions. The social, cultural and political contexts in which these behaviours are embedded will be addressed through analysis of the structural factors and actors (from local to EU level), including governance networks, physical environments, and materialized and institutionalized transport and provisioning networks. This combined ‘top down’ and ‘bottom-up’ perspective on household consumption will be utilised to inform the analysis of an energy-reduction initiative or experiment in each case study region, in which stakeholder advisory groups guide the selection of an intervention of particular local relevance. Principles derived from the lifestyle, structural and initiative studies will be utilised to structure agent-based models of policy implementation and change response. Resultant policy recommendations will describe the necessary changes at systemic level that need to be initiated in order to develop an environmentally-friendly European model of energy policies that respond to the expectations and needs of European cities and rural communities."
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