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System innovation for sustainability 4

Lahlou, Saadi, ed. (2010) System innovation for sustainability 4. Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK. ISBN 9781906093259

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Abstract

The EU-funded project ‘Sustainable Consumption Research Exchanges’ (SCORE!) consists of around 200 experts in the field of sustainable innovation and sustainable consumption. The SCORE! philosophy is that innovation in SCP policy can be achieved only if experts that understand business development, (sustainable) solution design, consumer behaviour and system innovation policy work together in shaping it. Sustainable technology design can be effective only if business can profitably make the products and consumers are attracted to them. To understand how this might effectively happen, the expertise of systems thinkers must be added to the mix. The publication in 2008 of System Innovation for Sustainability 1 was the first result of a unique positive confrontation between experts from all four communities. It examined what SCP is and what it could be, provided a state-of-the-art review on the governance of change in SCP policy and looked at the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches. System Innovation for Sustainability 4 is the third of three books of case studies covering respectively the three key consumption areas of mobility, food and agriculture, and energy use and the built environment – responsible for 70% of the life-cycle environmental impacts of Western societies – with the aim of stimulating, fostering or forcing change to SCP theory in practice. Energy consumption is obviously a key issue for sustainability, primarily because it depletes non-renewable fossil fuels, produces CO2 and other pollution. As climate change is becoming a key political issue, and as oil prices rise, society has become acutely aware of this issue. Energy is a special case because it is a key input to almost all other consumption and production processes. Housing is, with transport and food, a major consumer of energy, accounting for about one quarter of the environmental impact from the general consumption of products in the European Union, on a par with food and transport. Energy use in houses and buildings is also set to rise as populations – and the buildings they need –continue to increase. In France, for example, energy consumption in houses and offices accounts for 43% of the total national energy consumption, and one-quarter of national greenhouse gas emissions. The UK’s 21 million homes consume around 50 million tonnes of oil equivalent (responsible for 27% of UK CO2 emissions); this energy use has increased steadily by about 1.3% per year since 1990. Germany’s buildings contribute one-fifth of the country’s CO2 emissions. Beyond this, buildings are the environment where we spend most of our lives; they deeply influence many other consumption patterns, and are an important factor for life and comfort. The societal function and nature of buildings as they are currently constructed presents some key difficulties in moving towards sustainable consumption and production. Buildings have a long lifetime; and therefore they are a major target for any structural changes in consumption patterns. Conversely, long lifetimes come with associated strong inertia; therefore the stock of existing buildings is often an obstacle to policies aimed at behavioural change. This book examines, through a case study approach, opportunities to influence energy consumption in housing and buildings and thereby provide options for implementation at a macro, meso and micro level. A growing body of evidence shows that cases demonstrating action towards SCP in energy use in housing can inspire innovation through a range of actors. The cases include examples of steps towards the sustainable use of energy in houses and buildings, from ‘local experiments’, to ‘innovative communities’, to wider regime or non-local scale change in Europe and North America. The ‘System Innovation for Sustainability’ series is the fruit of the first major international research network on SCP and will set the standard in this field for some years to come. It will be required reading for all involved in the policy debate on sustainable production and consumption from government, business, academia and NGOs for designers, scientists, businesses and system innovators.

Item Type: Book
Official URL: http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com
Additional Information: © 2010 Greenleaf Publishing
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Sets: Departments > Social Psychology
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2010 18:02
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29474/

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