Author: Erin Roberts, Cardiff University

Day One – Tuesday 25th June

Strand – Environment

Session Two: 2.45pm – 4.15pm

Rural areas are the site and subject of fierce debate in the energy arena. While there has been extensive academic exploration of public attitudes toward landscapes of energy production, less attention has been paid towards understanding the dynamics of energy consumption in the rural sphere. Households are a crucial unit in governmental mitigation and adaptation strategies as, noted in the Climate Change Act 2008, every household in the UK will need to contribute to achieving the UK Government’s ambitious national carbon reduction targets. Efforts thus need to focus on low carbon forms of energy production, coupled with engaging people to actively reduce their energy use in everyday life.

This paper will present initial findings of an on-going ESRC funded doctoral project, exploring the role of social practices in shaping rural domestic energy consumption in North Wales. Biographical interviews were conducted with each member of participating households separately to elicit personal narratives of everyday practices spanning the life-course, followed by a household group interview to explore an awareness of and reflection on their personal and collective energy consumption. 

Themes covered include an exploration of how social energy practices are emplaced in geographical settings, the evolution of such practices over time, and how they are informed by the wider processes of socio-technical development. There will also be some reflection on how households’ energy use may be shaped in the future.

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