Household energy efficiency and low carbon transitions: Retrofit case studies from Australia.

Authors: Ralph Horne*,
Topics: Australia and New Zealand, Energy
Keywords: energy, retrofit
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In striking contrast with its high fossil fuel dependency, Australia has managed a rapid shift in domestic PV from practically zero systems in 2007-2016 having the highest proportion of households with PV systems on their roof of any country. Energy efficiency retrofits have also proliferated, although not as conclusively. This technical transition unfolds despite a persistent normative policy focus on behaviour change and market logics. Uneven and unexpected ramifications of dynamic policy settings relating to household energy efficiency in Australia, drawing in particular on case studies in Victoria. These point out ways in which post-structuralist interpretations of energy efficiency in households can bring new insights to domestic energy use in international contexts.The first case study examines the politics of the PV ‘transition’, revealing the social and cultural influences that lie beneath the dominant narrative of behaviour change led by rebates and feed-in-tariffs. The second explores private rental households, in order to draw out the particularities not of material variation, but of power as wrought by legal constraints over retrofit conduct and performance. The third focuses on owner occupiers and their relations with ‘doers’, who we call the project managers of retrofit. Drawing on earlier work on owner occupier retrofit (Horne and Dalton 2014), and on energy poverty (Willand 2017; Day et al, 2016) we localise the concept of energy poverty in contemporary VIC, Australia & outline how well-meaning attempts to promote energy efficient, low carbon retrofit present (a) new forms of inequality & (b) unexpected avenues for policy.

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