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  • 1.
    Joyce, Peter James
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management.
    Finnveden, Göran
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    Håkansson, Cecilia
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering.
    Wood, Richard
    Norwegian Univ Sci & Technol, Dept Energy & Proc Engn, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway..
    A multi-impact analysis of changing ICT consumption patterns for Sweden and the EU: Indirect rebound effects and evidence of decoupling2019In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 211, p. 1154-1161Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is one of the major areas of growth in consumption seen over the last two decades. The falling prices of ICT and increasing energy efficiency of ICT may lead to reduced spending on ICT and electricity in the future. However, lower spending in one area can trigger higher spending elsewhere, leading to 'rebound effects' which can reduce or even cancel out the environmental benefits associated with lower consumption of a given product or service, and reducing the efficacy of environmental policy. In this study we use Multi-Regional Input Output analysis to investigate trends in the consumption of, and environmental and social impacts associated with la products in Sweden and the EU. We find that ICT spending is linked to prosperity, with a clear fall as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, but a recovery since. There is some evidence that the environmental impact associated with ICE has begun to decouple from consumption in Sweden, but not at an EU level. Environmental rebound effects associated with reduced ICT consumption are strong close to, and in most cases far above 100% (so called backfire effects). This backfire effect is strongest for energy use and total material footprint, which are both close to 200% in Sweden. This means that an increased spending on ICE products and services while keeping the overall consumption level constant, would decrease environmental impacts. Environmental rebound effects are much lower for reduced energy spending (as low as 2 percent), particularly at an EU level. Rebound effects in social indicators are assessed for the first time for 10' products. We find that value added in the EU is relatively insensitive to changes in spending patterns related to ICT and energy (rebound effects similar to 100%), however rebound effects in employment are seen, particularly resulting from decreased energy spending. At an EU level, reallocation of spending resulting from lower energy consumption results in a net increase in employment, while in Sweden the reverse is true. We conclude that policies focused on reducing energy spending are likely to have a greater overall environmental effect than measures which result in reduced consumer spending on ICT. However, in light of the conflicting social rebound effects at an EU and Swedish level, the importance of understanding the broader consequences of policy decision across a broad range of measures in advance of their implementation is once again highlighted.

  • 2.
    Mäkivierikko, Aram
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.
    A Needs-Based Approach towards Fostering Long-term Engagement with Energy Feedback among Local Residents2019Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to reach the current climate goals, energy consumption needs to decrease in all sectors, including households, which produce 20% of the European emissions. However, it is difficult to increase residents’ engagement in their household electricity consumption as it is an ‘invisible’ form of energy, the monetary incentives are often too small and environmental incentives are not very effective. Building on the idea that an engagement mechanism should be based on user needs, and recent research showing that social influence can be an effective way to affect consumption behaviour, this thesis examines the potential of a neighbourhood-based digital local social network providing feedback on household electricity consumption as an engagement solution. By helping neighbours to know each other better, such a network could meet the basic human need of belonging to a group, while also taking advantage of the social influence between neighbours to increase the effectiveness of the energy feedback provided.

    This thesis sought to: 1) Identify needs of residents that could be served by a local social network and explore whether such a network could provide a beneficial context for energy feedback; 2) identify and evaluate a set of design principles for energy feedback and use them to propose a prototype feedback design suitable for use in a local social network; and 3) design and implement a baseline study for measuring changes in aspects of social and environmental sustainability in a neighbourhood that introduction of a local social network can achieve, such as social cohesion, trust, safety, and energy attitudes and behaviour.

    In order to achieve these objectives, the Research Through Design methodology was used. This resulted in mixed methods research using quantitative (household survey) and qualitative (focus group interviews, stakeholder consultation workshop) methods. The research was conducted in two eco-districts in Stockholm, Sweden: Hammarby Sjöstad and Stockholm Royal Seaport.

    Regarding the first objective, results from the household survey indicated a need for increased interaction between neighbours in Stockholm Royal Seaport, while the focus group discussions revealed local communication needs that a local social network could meet. However, the possibility to use social influence between neighbours in increasing the intention to save energy was shown to be rather weak, possibly because of the current low level of connection between neighbours. Regarding the second objective, a set of design principles was identified using a literature study. They were used to create a design prototype of energy feedback that was presented to potential end-users in a stakeholder consultation workshop and then refined using suggestions given in the workshop. The workshop indicated support for many of the design principles as they were indirectly mentioned in the discussions. The design principle of fair feedback was further explored, suggesting use of typical household consumption as part of a fair comparison metric and when setting reduction goals.

    Regarding the third objective, an evaluation method with baseline survey and follow-up surveys was suggested. The household survey served as a baseline for measuring social and environmental sustainability aspects in a neighbourhood. Further research is needed on the effectiveness of a local social network as an engagement mechanism for energy feedback.

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