Energy Policy 63 (2013) 833-844. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2013.09.033

Harnessing social networks for promoting adoption of energy technologies in the domestic sector

Catherine S. E. Bale, Nicholas J. McCullen, Tim J. Foxon, Alastair M. Rucklidge and William F. Gale
Highlights. Abstract. This paper presents results from modelling work investigating the effects of social networks on the adoption of energy technologies in the domestic sector. This work concerns ideas on social network interventions which have been successfully applied in other domains but which have seldom been applied to energy policy questions. We employ a dynamical multi-parameter network model where households are represented as nodes on a network for which the uptake of technologies is influenced by both personal benefit and social influences. This is applied to demonstrate the usefulness of this type of model in assessing the likely success of different roll-out strategies that a local authority could pursue in promoting the uptake of domestic energy technologies. Local authorities can play a key role in the retrofit of energy-efficiency and low-carbon energy-generation technologies in order to realise carbon reductions and alleviate fuel poverty. Scenarios are modelled for different local authority interventions that target network interactions and uptake threshold effects, and the results provide insights for policy. The potential for the use of this type of modelling in understanding the adoption of energy innovations in the domestic sector and designing local-level interventions is demonstrated.

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