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The key stakeholders' response to climate change

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Complimentary tea coffee and biscuits will be served


Energy has become an essential component of economic, institutional and social development. Evidence suggests, however, that the ways in which we consume energy have significant negative environmental and social impacts. Climate change, energy security and fuel poverty are the three main energy challenges currently facing the UK. Tackling these challenges is a crucial and complex task which governments have passed legislation to address. Under the 2008 Climate Change Act, the UK has set legally binding targets to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% compared with 1990 levels by 2050. In 2009 the EU published a directive committing Member States to increase their share of renewable energy consumption to 20% by 2020. Achieving these objectives presents a formidable challenge. Normative scenarios that meet existing targets generally describe an age of transition similar in scale to the industrial revolution in the 19th century.

Over half of all UK energy consumption takes place within the built environment, where much of the existing stock is deemed to be inefficient. Improvements in both residential and non-residential buildings are essential if carbon reduction targets are to be met. Landlords, business and residential consumers all have a role to play in adopting a wide range of available technological and operational solutions There are a number of barriers to implementation, however, that have not yet been resolved. A better understanding of these barriers, as well as the drivers of behavioural change will allow us to design appropriate incentives for all actors in the economy.

This seminar will explore how key stakeholders are addressing energy efficiency in the built environment. It will also discuss the main hurdles still facing stakeholders as well as potential solutions.


  • Simon Chubb Sustainable City Manager, Cambridge City Council
  • Aidan Parkinson PhD student, Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge
  • Elcin Akcura PhD student, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Aoife Brophy Haney PhD student, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
  • Murat Basarir MPhil student, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Speakers’ Abstracts

Simon Chubb: “Title TBC ”

Abstract TBC

Aidan Parkinson: “Managing Thermal Comfort in Large Scale, Mixed Use Developments Towards 2050.”

UK markets are exposed to increasingly volatile wholesale energy prices. This coincides with peak production of indigenous UK oil and gas production reached around the year 2000 prompting an increase in energy imports. The consequences are that since 2003 a trend for a reduction in the number of people in fuel poverty has reversed. The UK Climate Change Act 2008 sets legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Providing affordable and secure energy, whilst meeting government targets for greenhouse gas emissions is a significant challenge.

Many institutions and businesses have published scenario planning documents in this area to determine strategy with an outlook of increased uncertainty. Normative scenarios generally describe an age of significant transition looking towards 2050. In order to achieve 80% greenhouse gas emission cuts whilst maintaining affordable and secure energy provision these documents describe a rapid uptake of renewable electricity generation, the electrification of transport and 50% reductions in the energy consumption of buildings.

Property firms will be required to adapt to the effects of volatile energy prices and climate change. My research investigates the factors affecting the retrofitting of energy efficient solutions across large scale, mixed use developments for providing thermal comfort to occupants towards 2050. This presentation will show the results of a pilot study where these issues have been explored. Some initial conclusions will also be presented.

Elcin Akcura: “UK Households Attitudes on Electricity and Environment”

Under the Climate Change Act, UK aims to reduce CO2 emissions to 34% below 1990 levels by 2020 and has committed to increasing the share of renewables to account for 15% of its energy. The achievement of these objectives presents a formidable challenge. The public have a significant role to play in the formation of the necessary measures to achieve the ambitious targets as energy policy is set at the national level against a backdrop of prevailing public sentiment. Moreover, the public will have to alter its energy consumption behaviour as the residential sector accounts more than a quarter of all energy used in the UK.

The presentation will discuss some results from household surveys conducted by Electricity Policy Research Group (EPRG). The presentation will focus on householdsí views on energy policy as well as their energy conservation behaviour.

Aoife Brophy Haney: “Energy efficiency in large organisations and the role of non-financial drivers”

Until recently, the main policy mechanism for encouraging efficient energy use in the UK business and public sectors was through price. The UK Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) seeks to change this by above all focusing on reputation and organisational structure. In this presentation, we firstly situate this new focus on non-financial drivers within the wider theoretical and empirical literature. We then present a conceptual framework and set of hypotheses that aim to tease out the interactions between and the impacts of various drivers on the extent of energy efficiency in large organisations. Finally, we outline our methodological approach to testing these hypotheses. This research has theoretical, empirical and practical contributions. By considering energy efficiency as one aspect of organisational performance, we can enrich the existing literature on energy efficiency but also the wider economic and management literature on non-financial drivers.

Murat Basarir: “Energy Appraisal of Retail Units : Assessing the effect of open doors on energy consumption and thermal comfort”

There is a vital need to implement energy efficiency measures in all range of businesses in the UK. Statistics by DECC state that the retail industry uses 31% of its energy for heating purposes. A portion of this energy will simply be wasted by poor practices such as leaving the doors open. To compensate for this heat loss, retailers turn up the heating or instal air curtains above doors that raise operating costs and increase their carbon footprint. Monitoring real-world performance of retail outlets will enable us to quantify the energy savings of keeping the external doors closed. The research involves setting up and deploying a wide range of wireless sensors to monitor the main factors that affect energy consumption in a store. Along with the use of power meters to measure energy; the internal temperature, humidity and external weather conditions were monitored to grasp an understanding of their interactions with energy use.

The gathered heating season data indicate that significant energy savings can be achieved when the store simply shuts its doors and turns off the additional heaters above the door. In addition to the energy saving benefits, closing the doors also helps maintain the recommended comfort range as published by CIBSE . When doors were left open, the results indicate that the usage of heating equipment and air curtains failed to provide the desired thermal comfort throughout the day. This resulted in staff relying on additional heating equipment, thus increasing total energy consumption.

This talk is part of the Sustainability in the Built Environment (GreenBRIDGE) series.

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