Publication type: Conference paper
Type of review: Not specified
Title: How cities can foster local action in energy efficiency by utilizing middle actors : insights from a Swiss case study
Authors: Blumer, Yann
Wemyss, Devon
Moser, Corinne
Proceedings: ECEEE summer study proceedings
Volume(Issue): 1
Page(s): 653
Pages to: 660
Conference details: ECEEE 2015 Summer Study «First fuel now» Toulon/Hyères, France, 1-6 June 2015
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher / Ed. Institution: European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy ECEEE
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Stockholm
ISBN: 978-91-980482-7-8
ISSN: 2001-7960
Language: English
Subject (DDC): 333.79: Energy
Abstract: While national policies create settings incentivizing energy efficiency, actual savings are often much lower than what would be technically feasible and economically viable. Reasons for this so-called efficiency gap include individuals not recognizing the need, not having the interest to implement the required changes, or that national policies may simply be ill-fitting to local contextual constraints. Due to their close link to citizens communities are in a key position for closing the efficiency gap. Yet, as they have limited access to either hard or soft policy instruments, they need to rely on leading by example and providing a fertile ground for local action. Therein, intermediaries (or ‘middle-actors’) play a key role. They comprise a heterogeneous group of actors, including schools, leisure or sports associations, construction firms, and energy-related businesses. Distinctively, they work, directly or indirectly, to implement or advise on energy related decisions (e.g., choice of heating systems), distil information, mediate social or technical relations, set behavioral norms, or motivate community action. An ongoing project in Switzerland addresses the question of how communities can foster local action on energy efficiency, utilizing intermediaries. It follows a three-step procedure: 1) Potentially relevant actor groups on a communal level are identified and characterized, using structured interviews with experts from academia and practice (e.g., communal energy consultants and energy managers of Swiss cities). The characterization includes the different actors’ potentials to promote energy efficiency, as well as their motivations to do so. 2) In a case study in the city of Baden (pop. 18’000) the list of actors and their characterization are validated based on a workshop with city officials and subsequent interviews with selected intermediaries. 3) This allows developing an empirically validated framework of local intermediaries for communal energy policy. In the paper at hand we embed the study in the current Swiss energy policy as well as in the academic discourse on closing the efficiency gap, and present its concept along with some first insights.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: School of Engineering
Organisational Unit: Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Institute of Sustainable Development (INE)
Appears in collections:Publikationen School of Engineering

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