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Aimee Walshaw IEA DSM Task 24 Trondheim Workshop
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Aimee Walshaw IEA DSM Task 24 Trondheim Workshop


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  • Thank you. The focus of this lecture is on policy making. It is about the ideas, interests and forces which have shaped and continue to shape voluntary and community sector policy making in the UK, and internationally. Nearly twenty years ago I was interviewed for a PhD scholarship and asked 'how would you define political economy?'. Being somewhat naïve I replied that is about the 'study of the relationship between the state and the market'. I probably gave some other answers as well but this is what I remember. Nonetheless understanding the relationship and tension between the state – broadly all the institutions around government, and the market, and how this shapes policy has shaped much of my work since. On the one hand my work has explored the role of evidence in policy making and on the other it has explored the role of interests, ideas and power. These two sides regrettably do not always meet in the making of policy – interests, ideas and power as many of us here have observed, have ignore available evidence.
  • Of course, no lecture or paper on the VCS cannot be without recourse to debates around what we collectively call action outside the state and the market: is it the third sector, civil society or even a Big Society, whatever that last term means. As the communitarian Michael Waltzer highlights 'the words "civil society" name the space for uncoerced human association and also the set of relational networks - formed for the sake of family, faith, interest and ideology that fill this space'. I think this is a useful starting point. Moreover, civil society may be defined in different ways within different policy domains: neighbourhoods groups become the focus in urban policy whilst for public health large national charities are often the focus. It is difficult at times to have a single or as Pete Alcock discusses, a unified understanding of the sector. My own interests have been mainly been with organisational basis of the sector and typically its role in various forms of regeneration. The following figures provide some shape of the sector. The most recent NCVO Almanac - the most comprehensive source of information on civil society suggests that in 2009/10: nearly 164,000 voluntary organisations around 900,000 civil society organisations a total income of £36.7 billion a paid workforce in the voluntary sector of 765,000 but a total workforce in all civil society of up to 2 million. and nearly 40% of the population volunteering at least annually. The date some of these data were taken was 2009/10 is significant and may well come to be seen as a highwater mark for the voluntary and community sector, particularly for the number organisations, income and employees. But more on this later.
  • The evaluation of Futurebuilders used a classic mixed method evaluation but with a couple of innovative elements. One was a matched pairs design and the other a set of longitudinal case studies (used for assessing OD and impact issues). More on these later. Lots of reflections to be made in terms of this evaluation design; but a key one is timing. Loans took a long time to agree, to draw down and for capital projects to be completed. Even after a five year programme we were still at the end largely looking at the potential for investee organisations to achieve desired impacts. A further reflection is that loans for fixed capital buy capacity to deliver services but these services are paid for by public service contracts - FB is essentially a catalytic programme. I am not sure how fully this was understood by policy makers in 2002. We also concluded the evaluation by saying that FB investments were made before public spending cuts and the premise the loans were made on will change. Although the scale of the public spending cuts represent something of a once in a lifetime event, it nonetheless highlights some issues around how social investors anticipate change and how this effects their investment behaviour. Time will tell.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Towards low energy housing in the UK: learning lessons from the user Aimee Walshaw (with Barry Goodchild and Fin O'Flaherty) Research Fellow
    • 2. • Between 2009 and 2013 a series of research projects into low energy housing prioritising the user as a key actor in the success of low energy housing • The projects have very different geneses but collectively offer insights into the barriers that exist to maximising the potential of low energy housing to reduce carbon emissions and alleviate fuel poverty Introduction
    • 3. • UK national carbon delivery plan (DECC 2011, 30): "By 2050 the carbon footprint of our buildings will need to be almost zero" • How can this be done? – By decarbonising mainstream energy sources (nuclear, biomass, wind farms). – By changing the design of new homes and modernising old homes to reduce energy demand and incorporate energy generation • One will be insufficient without the other and a combination will be required. Therefore radical changes in the way our homes look and function cannot be avoided. Carbon reduction policy in the UK
    • 4. • In principle, low energy homes are a win-win situation for all- reducing emissions, bills and fuel poverty • However, the financial impact of an eco-home is not as advantageous to occupants as might be thought, for two main reasons: – The rebound effect: households use lower heating costs to achieve higher temperatures leading to little or no carbon or financial savings (Sorrell et al 2008). – Residents are often unable to use their home in the most economical way because they don't know how, their Social Housing Provider (SHP) or developer creates barriers to them getting the best out of the technology or the equipment underperforms. • These problems are more likely to be experienced by low income households. Low energy homes: a win-win situation?
    • 5. • These lessons have been derived from three separate research projects undertaken with the aim of elucidating the user perspective on different types of low energy housing: – retrofit schemes where micro generation technologies are installed in older housing – innovative new build eco-homes – new build powered by communal biomass heating Case studies
    • 6. • 2009-2011 several studies of the impact of micro renewable energy technologies installed in traditional C19th terraced properties in England with the aim of alleviating fuel poverty. • Two types of technology installed: solar thermal hot water (STHW) and solar photovoltaic (PV). • Study examined energy cost savings before and after the intervention. Case 1: retrofit involving micro generation
    • 7. • Savings to residents were negligible at that time (and offset by fuel price increases) • Residents were focussed on actual costs rather than energy consumption • Savings would have increased if installation had been accompanied by comprehensive upgrading of building fabric • Residents also found the technology difficult to understand and feared breakdown. Case 1: retrofit involving micro generation (2)
    • 8. • Residents responses to micro-generation led to detailed research into residents experiences of living in a fully fledged eco- home. Three videos were prepared featuring first hand accounts from the residents • Three eco schemes (two social housing, one private). • Dramatic variations in practical understanding of the eco-technology- some coped easily but many did not Case 2: Living in an innovative eco-home
    • 9. Case 2: Living in an innovative eco-home (2) • several residents stated that they had not touched the heating controls from the day they moved in • another had been advised to leave her thermostat permanently at 30 degrees
    • 10. Case 2: Living in an innovative eco-home (2) • another believed that her STHW panels would deliver free electricity
    • 11. Case 2: Living in an innovative eco-home (2) others had embraced the 'eco-lifestyle' and revelled in the savings they were making
    • 12. Case 2: Living in an innovative eco-home • there were also examples of residents disabling their fridges and freezers and getting rid of their cars
    • 13. • To view the films and join the debate visit Case 2: Living in an innovative eco-home
    • 14. • The need to build at higher densities in London has led to an increase in Biomass District Heating (BDH) schemes developed by social SHPs • BDH combined with high insulation is favoured approach of the Carbon Delivery Plan • Two recent BDH schemes were examined • The two SHPs approached these schemes in very different ways Case 3: responding to biomass district heating
    • 15. • Scheme 1: the SHP became the energy supplier (ESCo) to it's tenants selling energy to them at cost • Scheme 2: the SHP avoided financial liability by installing pre-payment meters with the result that tenants paid almost double for their HHW compared to those in scheme 1 • The technology was effective at reducing HHW costs but SHPs were gatekeepers to potential savings Case 3: responding to biomass district heating (2)
    • 16. • Energy is consumed by people in interaction with their surrounding, it is not consumed by buildings as such. • The occupants and the SHPs are therefore as much part of the energy systems in the home as the fabric and technology. • Designers, developers, SHPs and policy makers should therefore: • look at the home from the occupants’ perspective through consultation and post-occupancy surveys • avoid over-optimistic promises of reduced energy bills • provide support to occupants when they move in and training for frontline staff • work to minimise the technical complexity of low carbon technologies and maximise user friendliness The lessons
    • 17. • • +44 114 2256297 Thank you for listening
    • 18. • DECC- Department of Energy and Climate Change (Corporate author) (2011) The Carbon Plan: Delivering our low carbon future: Presented to Parliament pursuant to Sections 12 and 14 of the Climate Change Act 2008: Amended 2nd December 2011 from the version laid before Parliament on 1st December 2011, London, Crown Copyright. • Sorrell, S., Dimitropoulos, J. & Sommerville, M. (2009) ‘Empirical estimates of the direct rebound effect: A review’, Energy Policy 37: 1356–71 References