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Electrickery
                    The Social Life of Energy

                  Dr Tom Roberts and Dr Kevin Burchell
                                     Kingston University


Track 38 Energy, practice and personal lives: design and displacement in
                              the everyday - I
                                     October 19th 2012,
Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) 2012
                          Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Energy and measurement
•“You can’t change what you don’t measure”...
•Measurement and energy literacy is crucial but on their own are
insufficient for change
•Need to understand energy qualitatively as well as quantitatively
• Energy needs to be better understood as a social phenomenon
                                                 E=MC2
                                                 FACTS...
Smart Communities
•   Team: Ruth Rettie, Kevin Burchell and Tom Roberts
•   Community action project with the objective of energy
    consumption reduction (in homes and in a school)
•   Close relationship between interrelated theory and
    practice (action research)
     Practice theory
     Social theories of learning
     Social norm theory                Community action
     Community action theory
• Team of local project partners
• Lots of community engagement
          www.smartcommunities.org.uk
Historical ideas of energy
                              Modern industrial
                              idea of energy
                              masks a much
                              richer past



• Corporeal energy – “Labour united the
  human and animal bodies” - ‘working like a
  horse’, ‘feeling his oats’, and ‘working in the
  traces’ (Nye,1998)
• 1590s – Galileo’s experiments
• 1676 – Leibniz and ‘vis viva’
                                                    Dr Johnson’s dictionary in 1746
• 1807 – Thomas Young and ‘energy’                  describes electricity as:
• 1840s – law of conservation of energy             “A property in some bodies, whereby
• energy – from theoretical construct to            when rubbed so as to grow warm, they
  industrial reality                                draw little bits of paper, or such-like
                                                    substances to them”
Social classifications / folk quanta of
                       energy

• “Consumers measure energy using techniques that differ from those of
  professional energy analysts. We refer to these informal measurement
  techniques as folk quantification.” (Kempton and Montgomery, 1983)
• Petrol easier than electricity – miles per gallon a good folk quanta
• £ and p
I’m using how much £!?




             Vampire consumption – what
             bleeds away in the night

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Electrickery the social life of energy v4

  • 1. Electrickery The Social Life of Energy Dr Tom Roberts and Dr Kevin Burchell Kingston University Track 38 Energy, practice and personal lives: design and displacement in the everyday - I October 19th 2012, Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) 2012 Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • 2. Energy and measurement •“You can’t change what you don’t measure”... •Measurement and energy literacy is crucial but on their own are insufficient for change •Need to understand energy qualitatively as well as quantitatively • Energy needs to be better understood as a social phenomenon E=MC2 FACTS...
  • 3. Smart Communities • Team: Ruth Rettie, Kevin Burchell and Tom Roberts • Community action project with the objective of energy consumption reduction (in homes and in a school) • Close relationship between interrelated theory and practice (action research) Practice theory Social theories of learning Social norm theory Community action Community action theory • Team of local project partners • Lots of community engagement www.smartcommunities.org.uk
  • 4. Historical ideas of energy Modern industrial idea of energy masks a much richer past • Corporeal energy – “Labour united the human and animal bodies” - ‘working like a horse’, ‘feeling his oats’, and ‘working in the traces’ (Nye,1998) • 1590s – Galileo’s experiments • 1676 – Leibniz and ‘vis viva’ Dr Johnson’s dictionary in 1746 • 1807 – Thomas Young and ‘energy’ describes electricity as: • 1840s – law of conservation of energy “A property in some bodies, whereby • energy – from theoretical construct to when rubbed so as to grow warm, they industrial reality draw little bits of paper, or such-like substances to them”
  • 5. Social classifications / folk quanta of energy • “Consumers measure energy using techniques that differ from those of professional energy analysts. We refer to these informal measurement techniques as folk quantification.” (Kempton and Montgomery, 1983) • Petrol easier than electricity – miles per gallon a good folk quanta • £ and p
  • 6. I’m using how much £!? Vampire consumption – what bleeds away in the night
  • 7. Comparative feedback “Electricity yes, we’re below... the top 20%” We’re a 50 kwh a week household
  • 8. Social classifications / folk quanta of energy Oil, coal, natural gas, or water POTENTIAL TECHNOLOGY KINAESTHETIC CORPOREAL AFFECTUAL behind a dam are all valued primarily for their energy Making an Potential / potential, not for the specific Wood etc activity easier Movement Exhaustion Fuel bills £ form that the matter takes. If Miles per we value something for its Fossil fuels Electric car Cycling Work gallon form, it is regarded as matter; but if we value it for the work it Electricity Power stations Prancing horse Warmth Waste can do, we call it ‘energy’ (Adams, 1988) Forces Solar power Surfing Life force Firemaking energy, from Greek energeia, „activity‟, from energos, „being in action‟
  • 9. The social life of energy Community workshops MPA Lighting makes me feel less lonely in a big house? And you don’t agree with that, lighting makes me feel less... no? Light MFA Why does it, do you think, could you elaborate, what... how does it make you feel? FPA Well, I think it just sort of, a feeling of optimism with the light on, I think, if it’s all sort of, dull and dingy, or you know, it’s... especially in the winter, you know, the winter evenings, when they’re getting dull and dark, I think if you put a light on, it cheers you up. MPA It cheers you up.
  • 10. The social life of energy Community workshops U5 I think, also, if you’ve got something like a log fire, just the sight of those flames Heat has a psychological effect to make you feel warmer ...Yes, there is the radiant heat but I think you get an extra boost [overtalking]. U1 The cosiness, perhaps. U5 The fact is, that you tell yourself you are cosy. Because [overtalking] fires, you don’t have to get the heat from them, [overtalking] so you look at the flames and you will feel warmer with no heating on.
  • 12. What Watt? • 8 W – human-powered equipment using a hand crank • 14 W – power consumption of a typical household compact fluorescent light bulb • 20–40 W – power consumption of the human brain • 60 W – power consumption of a typical household incandescent light bulb • 100 W – metabolic rate of an adult human body • 120 W – electric power output of 1 m2 solar panel in full sunlight • 130 W – peak power consumption of a Pentium 4 CPU • 500 W – power output (useful work plus heat) of a person working hard physically • 745.7 W – units: 1 horsepower • 750 W – amount of sunshine falling on a square metre of the Earth's surface • kilowatt (103 watts) • 1 kW to 3 kW – heat output of a domestic electric kettle • 1.1 kW – power of a microwave oven • 10.0 kW (87,216 kWh/year) – average power consumption per person in the US (2008) • 16–32 kW – average photosynthetic power output per square kilometer • 40 kW to 200 kW – approximate range of power output of typical automobiles • 450 kW – approximate maxi power output of a large lorry • megawatt (106 watts) • 1.5 MW – peak power output of GE's standard wind turbine • 2.5 MW – peak power output of a blue whale • 3 MW – mechanical power output of a diesel locomotive • 12.2 MW – approx power available to a Eurostar 20-carriage train
  • 13. Kinesthetics: what do watts feel like? ‘... kinaesthetic investments (such as walking, bicycling, riding a train or being in a car) orient us toward the material affordances of the world around us in particular ways, and these orientations generate emotional geographies’ (Sheller 2005)
  • 14. Getting Ed Davey MP (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Zac Goldsmith MP to generate some power
  • 15. Energy at school • Working with estates manager – ecodriver – Environmental audit • Curriculum – ecodriver – Homework • School life – Ecodriver/energy-o-meter – Energy enforcer – Green cup
  • 16. Drama: the energy collector “Imagine what would happen if someone came along and took away all the energy in the world...” Once upon a time, a cloud shape ship hovered over Earth. The ship belonged to The Energy Collector, a small but terrifying man... http://www.energycollector.org/part1.html
  • 17. Conclusions 1. Folk quanta important to behavioural change agenda. Not just a case of more and better measurement 2. Broader notion of energy literacy required 3. Corporeal, kinesthetic and dramatic can be powerful tools of engagement
  • 18. Thank you! Dr Tom Roberts and Dr Kevin Burchell t.roberts@kingston.ac.uk www.smartcommunities.org.uk