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Back in the room

by on June 30, 2016

This blog has sadly been neglected of late, but with good reason, as I (Louise) have been off having a baby. Work has not stalled, however, and below are some updates about our activities. There will be a few (overdue) blog posts which appear in the coming days…keep your eyes peeled.

First of all, I’m pleased to say that Katherine Ellsworth-Krebs, one of my (soon to be former) PhD students, who has just submitted her PhD and will be undertaking her viva in a few weeks, is being employed by CHR to help with work on the Smarter Homes agenda. Katherine is going to be a real asset to the work.

On that note, she and I had our second paper published together earlier this year, when I was off on maternity leave. Entitled “Conceptualising energy prosumption: Exploring energy production,consumption and microgeneration in Scotland, UK” and published in the journal of Environment and Planning A, it brings together our shared work in Scotland on domestic microgeneration. We think it makes an important conceptual contribution by bringing the wealth of prosumption scholarship to discussion of the concept of ‘energy prosumption’ – a term which has been increasingly used in grey and academic literature as more communities and households are producing and consuming their own electricity and heat. The paper also presents novel empirical findings about householders experience of installing and living with microgeneration technologies, an area currently being overlooked in the majority of renewable energy research. Furthermore, it reflects on the utility of the UK government’s funding for microgeneration through the Feed-In Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive and the suitability of different technologies at the household scale. As an aside, our first paper together, based on Katherine’s PhD work, called ‘Home-ing in on domestic energy research: ‘house’, ‘home’ and the importance of ontology’ is available here, and you may also be interested to read Katherine’s latest piece on The Conversation here.

Secondly, we recently found out that we were successful in applying for an ESRC Festival of Social Science Event. More info can be found on our public engagement page. This is great news and really exciting for us – hopefully this will result in some really interesting discussions and teaching materials. It is fantastic to think that pupils all across Scotland will be using data from our project.

Thirdly, and building on the energy efficiency and stigma theme, I, with Kim and Joe at CHR, had a paper published in Energy Research and Social Science entitled ‘Exploring the Stigmatizatoin of Energy Efficiency in the UK: an emerging research agenda‘. This was a theoretical piece, in response to calls for social scientists to engage with energy research. In it, we outline the nature of the relationship between energy efficiency and stigma and present our emerging research agenda, which draws theoretical influence from Sociology and Housing Studies. Watch this space for more work in this area.

Fourthly, we were successful in getting a new fully funded ESRC Collaborative PhD studentship. This prestigious award, with Dr Mags Currie and Dr Kate Irvine from the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, will start in September. One of only 8 awards across all of social science in Scotland, the project is entitled ‘SHOW – health Smart Homes for Older peoples’ Wellbeing’. This studentship will critically examine the utility of ‘health smart homes’ (HSH) to enhance the wellbeing of older people in rural Scotland. We are delighted too that Rachel Creaney, a research assistant at the James Hutton Institute, will be taking up the studentship.

Lastly, we have a number of conferences coming up over the next few months, TEDDINET and Sustainable Housing, to name but a couple. Hope to see you there.

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