Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news Events PhD ceremonies

A socio-technical approach to the transition to low-carbon residential neighbourhoods

PhD ceremony:Ms K. (Kathelijne) Bouw
When:April 18, 2023
Supervisor:prof. dr. A.P.C. (André) Faaij
Co-supervisor:dr. C.J. Wiekens
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
A socio-technical approach to the transition to low-carbon
residential neighbourhoods

The building sector faces a major challenge in meeting the climate goals of the Paris agreement in the coming years. Although readily available and cost-effective measures already exist, progress is not on track. The transformation of the sector is complex and requires changes on multiple levels. Both technical solutions and social changes are needed to realize the transformation of the building stock. Finding technical solutions can be challenging as the existing building stock is diverse and solutions are context-specific. The social challenge lies in getting commitment from residents and access to individual homes. 

In this dissertation, an integrated, socio-technical approach to this transition is proposed that combines different methods and tools. The approach focuses on providing the information stakeholders need to make informed decisions on low-carbon technologies for residential buildings. A techno-economic model was developed that meets the necessary level of detail to adequately represent the heterogeneity of the building stock and inform stakeholders about the various consequences of system choices (investments, energy costs, CO2 emissions, etc.). The techno-economic modelling is complemented with social data tools designed to reflect the social context, including a social profile of a neighbourhood. In this way, social aspects, such as intended participation, potential for collective action and technology preferences, can be taken into account in the decision-making. The approach is meant to find cost-effective technical solutions that have a better chance of successful implementation.