Enabling Owner-Occupiers to Retrofit: A Practice-Based Study of Architects’ Educative Role

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Globally, buildings contribute approximately to 40% of CO2 emissions, and almost half of this share comes from homes.1 In the UK, homes are responsible for 58% of buildings' emissions,2 around 85% of which results from the operational energy consumed to run homes and perform routines. Heating is at the top of this list, accounting for 82% of domestic operational emissions.3 Therefore, most climatic benefits can be made by targeting energy use for heating. The low rate of housing replacement in the UK means that energy transformation must target existing homes to drive meaningful change.4 Owner-occupiers must be a priority as they constitute around 63% of existing housing stocks and have the highest number of inefficient properties.5 However, installation of low-carbon measures amongst this group has remained below the required rate to mitigate against global warming and avoid further catastrophes.6

Reaching owner-occupiers as key decision-makers is often attempted through educational programs.7 However, the failure of top-down educational strategies has highlighted an alternative approach that links learning with making sense of energy efficiency within the complex of everydayness and through personal connections.8 With regards to domestic retrofitting, this translates to exploring retrofitting in complex interactions of owner-occupiers with a network of suppliers, regulatory agencies, and building professionals.

This paper defines retrofit as upgrading existing house components to improve energy use.9 The study explores retrofitting as a process of sense-making and adaptations within broader topics, extending beyond merely technological concerns. 10 Previous studies used social practice theory to explore how retrofitting practices develop and highlight architects' strategic role in promoting these practices among homeowners.11 The current research draws on praxis-oriented approaches, which emphasize the sociality of practice formation to comprehend situated contingencies of accomplishments.12 By understanding learning as being steered into practices, it explores architects' role in enabling owner occupiers to retrofit.13
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAMPS Proceedings Series 33.1
Subtitle of host publicationApplying Education in a Complex World: Teaching and Learning
EditorsAngela larocchi
PublisherArchitecture Media Politics Society
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2024
EventAMPS: Toronto - Applying Education in a Complex World - Sheridan College, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 26 Apr 202328 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameAMPS Proceedings Series
PublisherArchitecture Media Politics Society
ISSN (Electronic)2398-9467


ConferenceAMPS: Toronto - Applying Education in a Complex World
Internet address

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