Ph.d.-forsvar: Energy consumption in the comfortable home - practices, perceptions and conventions
The use of energy for residential purposes is ever rising in the Western world, while the building structures that make up housing environments and the technologies that sustain buildings with energy are increasingly energy efficient. This schism calls for a deeper understanding of how, and for what purpose, energy is used in housing. The social dimension of daily energy consumption is crucial to understand to reach a more sustainable resource use in the future.
In her PhD thesis, Line Valdorff Madsen contributes to investigating this schism by scrutinising a central purpose of energy use in daily life in houses: the aim of creating a comfortable home. Comfort is a widely used concept in regard to characterising indoor environments, and building regulations generally aim at achieving healthy and comfortable dwellings in the most energy-efficient manner. The thesis investigates how comfort is perceived by residents as part of everyday practices in the home and how this relates to their energy consumption and the material structures of houses. Through this qualitative study the thesis contribute to broaden understandings of comfort, beyond thermal comfort, to include more aspects of daily life in homes: warmth and cold, air, light and material stuff. The research shows that comfort is bodily sensed and socially interpreted in everyday practices. Domestic comfort is constituted from social and material elements of homes and therefore ideas of comfort and homeliness are closely intertwined. In this way notions of home and the materiality of a house and its technologies influence the perceived comfort of residents, and thereby their energy consumption.
Comfort is materialised in the structures of housing through standards such as building regulations and through norms of an appropriate home and ways of living. Comfort is also interpreted and reproduced in an on-going process of everyday practices in the home. This outlines reasons why energy consumption is rising, although technologies are increasingly efficient, as ideas of comfort are changing with everyday practices, notions of home and material and social structures of housing. Therefore, technologies alone cannot change residential energy consumption radically. These conclusions call for alternative ways of achieving comfort, if the level of energy consumption in housing is to be reduced.
Line Valdorff Madsen forsvarer sin ph.d.-afhandling 21. april 2017 kl. 14-17 i Auditoriet på Aalborg Universitet København, A. C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 København SV.
Alle er velkomne. Efter forsvaret er SBi vært ved en reception.
Cand.soc. i Plan, By & Proces og Geografi, Ph.d.-stipendiat Line Valdorff Mansen