Harnessing social networks for promoting adoption of energy technologies in the domestic sector

Catherine S E Bale, Nick J McCullen, Timothy J Foxon, Alastair M Rucklidge, William F Gale

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This paper presents results from new modelling work
investigating the effects of social networks on the adoption of energy
technologies in the domestic sector. This work concerns ideas on social
network interventions which have been successfully applied in other
domains, such as health, but which have seldom been applied to the area
of energy policy. We employ a dynamical multi-parameter network model to
demonstrate the usefulness of such models in assessing the likely success
of different roll-out strategies that a local authority could pursue in
promoting the uptake of domestic energy technologies. Local authorities
can play a key role in the retrofit of energy-efficiency and low-carbon
energy-generation technologies in order to realise carbon reductions and
alleviate fuel poverty. This work models households as dynamical nodes on
a network for which the uptake of technologies is influenced by both
personal benefit and social influences. Scenarios are modelled for
different local authority interventions that target network interactions
and uptake threshold effects, and the results provide insights for
policy. The potential for the use of this type of modelling in
understanding the adoption of energy innovations in the domestic sector
and designing local-level interventions is demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-844
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
Early online date26 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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