In search of behavioural and social levers for effective social housing retrofit programs

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Abstract

Our study proposes to analyze from a social practice and behavioural economics perspective the factors that influence a mismatch between energy behaviour and retrofit efficacy in the context of social housing. Retrofit interventions not only have the potential of improving energy efficiency of buildings, but they also change the context in which individuals live, therefore improving their wellbeing at home. However, the surrounding social context might suggest some context-specific practices and cognitive biases that negatively influence energy behaviour, creating a gap between expected and actual energy performance. Addressing the context-specific practices and cognitive biases is especially necessary when it comes to social housing. Social housing neighbourhoods are not only low-energy efficient, but also socially vulnerable. This context might shape specific practices and make salient specific cognitive biases which require special consideration within an energy retrofit program. The ambition of this study is to understand the context-specific practices and cognitive biases that characterize the pre-refurbishment phase of a retrofit program and to identify the ones that can be used as behavioural and social levers to enhance retrofit efficacy. To this aim, we analyze the results of a questionnaire administered to the tenants of a social housing district through the lenses of social practice theory and behavioural economics. Our results show that analysing tenants’ behaviour through an interdisciplinary social science approach allows to identify a range of context-specific variables that can be used as levers to align behaviour to retrofit interventions.

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APA

DellaValle, N., Bisello, A., & Balest, J. (2018). In search of behavioural and social levers for effective social housing retrofit programs. Energy and Buildings, 172, 517–524. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.05.002

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