At many of the Green Deal workshops, roundtable discussions and presentations (eg More than Just a GreenDeal) I have led over the last year or so , I have challenged thinking with the question, how did we get to 2013 without a clear strategy in improving the efficiency of our existing buildings?
Its as though we waited for Green Deal then set about finding solutions. I know there has been masses of research and development in this area – but no clear agreed solution or strategy.
Many of the solutions are presenting themselves as technology or renewable solutions, rather than behavioural approaches. Have we put energy consumption behavioural science in the ‘too difficult’ or ‘not enough profit’ box? The hottest new thing in energy efficiency may not be solar panels, wind turbines or eco bling — but computers. ( See Big data analytics and smart meters are allowing utilities to use more renewable power while reducing energy waste)
Encouraging then to see the Guardian Sustainability Business report “The power of behavioural design: looking beyond nudging” describing the powerful integration of big data, behaviour insight and mobile technology in pursuit of reducing energy consumption in homes and buildings.
The American energy software company, Opower, uses a powerful combination of big data and behavioural design to make consumers use less energy
The ambition of the collaborative project between Warwick Business School and Honeywell Building Solutions is to reduce the energy consumption of organisations by applying a combination of relevant technology and behavioural design
And this is just where Green Deal thinking needs to be thinking, on a hierarchy of behaviour, fabric and renewables – not the other way around as we appear to be at the moment – and quickly.