Identifying owner‐occupier’s motivations to undertake energy‐efficient housing retrofit: The case for ontological impartiality

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Abstract

This study reviews existing literature on owner-occupier motivations to undertake energy efficient retrofit and discusses the methodological implications of both the findings of these studies and the ontological approaches they adopt.

The first section begins by briefly reviewing Social Practice Theory and psychological theories on human motivation, which despite being underpinned by very different ontological assumptions, have both been employed in the study of sustainable behaviours. This research subsequently discusses how these theories have been applied specifically to the subject of housing retrofit before reviewing the motivations to retrofit revealed by studies adopting each of these ontologies and the methodological approaches they employ. This review concludes that the most appropriate ontological approach to identify motivations to retrofit may vary between different individuals. This is due to the nature of housing as both a highly conscious long-term investment good and an object of daily consumption, with the emphasis between these two roles depending on the occupant’s relationship with the house. Therefore, whilst these two approaches cannot be combined due to their very different ontological assumptions, it may be appropriate to adopt research methods that allow the appropriate ontological approach to emerge through the data collection process itself. This poses a particular challenge when studying concepts such as motivation, which rely on eliciting appropriate responses from participants that may be influenced by the data collection methods employed. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for the research methodologies used to identify owner-occupier motivations to retrofit.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
EventNordic Environmental Social Sciences - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 9 Jun 201511 Jun 2015

Conference

ConferenceNordic Environmental Social Sciences
CountryNorway
CityTrondheim
Period9/06/1511/06/15

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