A collaboration between The University of Manchester, Edinburgh University, Essex University, Lancaster University and Leeds University with Fellowships based at Cardiff University, Queens University Belfast and The University of Salford
Zero-carbon homes have become an icon of policy ambition, with the 2016 target for new homes the subject of much debate as to exactly how it should and can be achieved and the adequacy of accompanying policy and regulatory measures. Achieving zero carbon homes is not just a matter of built design but also of how these homes are lived in. This project will investigate the following questions:
- What types of users, routines and habits are being assumed? Are these homogeneous or diverse?
- What changes from any notional standard, common, or normal sets of practices are being built in?
- What is assumed to be non-negotiable and necessary for homes to be viable and desirable in market terms?
- How do practices shift when zero-carbon homes are inhabited and how might these change over time?
- To what extent are identical homes inhabited in different ways and with what implications for their sustainability in action?
- What can we learn about different national contexts of zero-carbon living?
The study will involve documentary analysis, three case studies involving individual interviews and focus group discussions, interviews with key informants, and observations of lifestyle practices in zero energy residences in the UK. The study will provide evidence of the effectiveness of infrastructural interventions and the ways in which habits change in a domestic context as a result of embracing a zero-carbon approach to building design. The overarching aim of the project is to analyse the social aspects of sustainability as they relate to building design, energy use, and the daily practices of building occupants.
Principal Investigator: Simon Guy
Co-Investigator: Ralf Brand
Co-Investigator: Gordon Walker
Resesarch Associate: Andrew Karvonen