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Active buildings in the changing policy landscape: conceptual challenges and social scientific perspectives

O'Sullivan, Kate, Henwood, Karen ORCID: and Pidgeon, Nicholas ORCID: 2020. Active buildings in the changing policy landscape: conceptual challenges and social scientific perspectives. [Project Report]. Cardiff University.

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As significant contributors to global CO2 and other GHG emissions globally, it is recognised that the energy and buildings sectors must find ways to decarbonise in order that climate change targets may be realised. For the energy sector, increasing levels of renewable energy production at all scales presents challenges for national electricity grids in matching supply to demand. Buildings as places of energy consumption and increasingly energy production, may become places for the intelligent storage and consumption of energy, providing grid flexibility through more complete integration into energy systems. Active buildings present a contemporary conceptualisation for addressing such environmental policy, technical and societal problems, incorporating low carbon building fabric design, renewable energy production and energy storage capacity with intelligent digitalisation. It is directed towards facilitating the scale-up of single buildings to neighbourhoods and beyond. With a number of building certifications, labels and conceptualisations already in existence, active buildings must offer a clear progression and differentiation of those already existing. A key factor under-represented in some existing concepts is understanding of the many diverse and valued roles that building play in society, as material places of commerce, education, healthcare, or home. Buildings, in all forms also have subjective and powerful values and meanings attached to them. For homes, these are formed through a multitude of factors; people’s past and anticipated future, life course transitions, social relationships, as well as wider social, economic and political contexts and structures, all of which vary in how they assemble in space and time. Such factors together also hold influence over how people carry out their everyday and energy practices. As buildings as homes are imagined as playing a dynamic role in future energy infrastructure, understanding the interplay between people, homes and energy and how this may alter as imaginaries are realised is essential to them fulfilling their many requirements. Adopting a social science lens, this paper outlines key international building certification schemes and conceptualisations, including their strengths and weaknesses, that should be drawn on in the formation of active buildings as homes. It also takes account of the changing policy and energy landscapes in the UK and raises critical questions for the conceptualisation of active buildings as active homes.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Cardiff University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 January 2023
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 14:42

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