Using communities to find the answers to energy demand problems

Monday 11 October 2010

How individuals and communities use energy, their understanding of energy use and effective, community management of energy and energy regulation will form the basis of seven new Energy and Communities initiative projects. The projects are a part of the Energy Research Programme which will work with communities from the outset of their research to find appropriate ways to reduce energy demand.

The £4 million investment from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is expected to have significant impact within the communities that they are working with and beyond, to other communities looking to address energy demand reduction in the context of increasing challenges in energy security and equity.

The UK has a target to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. This enormous task requires changes to every aspect of energy generation, supply, use and regulation. In the short term the Government has targeted a 34 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.  The research agenda for these projects was developed through workshops and extensive dialogue with stakeholders, such as interest groups, social enterprises and policy makers, at a national and local level.

Led by the EPSRC, the Energy Research Programme brings together the work of the EPSRC and that of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the ESRC, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The successful applicants are:

  • Professor G. Smith, University of Southampton, The Role of Community-Based Initiatives in Energy Saving, £945,833
  • Dr R. Gupta, Oxford Brookes University, Evaluating the Impacts, Effectiveness and Success of Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)-funded Low Carbon Communities on Localised Energy Behaviours (EVALOC), £1,373,831
  • Professor J. Webb, Edinburgh University, Heat and the City: Comparing the trajectory of sustainable heat and energy conservation in the municipal communities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, £998,469
  • Professor K. Henwood, Cardiff University, Energy Biographies: Understanding the dynamics of energy use for energy demand reduction, £574,539
  • Professor A. Dobson, Keele University, Reducing Energy Consumption Through Community Knowledge Networks, £452,928
  • Dr M. Michael, Goldsmiths University of London, Sustainability Invention and Energy Demand Reduction: Co-designing communities and practice, £974,133
  • Dr R. Rettie, Kingston University, Smart Communities: Shaping new low carbon communities norms and practices, £699,276

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. The projects are a part of the Energy Research Programme which aims to position the UK to meet its energy and environmental targets and policy goals through world-class research and training. The Energy Programme is investing more than £530 million in research and skills to pioneer a low carbon future. This builds on an investment of £360 million over the past 5 years. Led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Energy Programme brings together the work of EPSRC and that of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
  2. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total expenditure in 2009/10 was about £211 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.
  3. EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects - from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.