Energy Cultures II

Funding Body Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE)
Total Contract Value  $3,199,694
Start Date October 2012
End Date
September 2016
Science Leaders                   
Dr Janet Stephenson (CSAFE), Professor Rob Lawson (Department of Marketing)
Key Researchers Professor Barry Barton (Faculty ofLaw, University of Waikato), Emeritus Professor Gerry Carrington (Department of Physics), Dr Paul Thorsnes (Department of Economics), Dr Rebecca Ford (Department of Marketing), Dr John Williams (Department of Marketing), Dr Sara Walton (Department of Management), Dr Charles Sullivan and David Rees (Synergia)
Project Co-ordinator  Debbie Hopkins

Project Summary

NZ's transport and business sectors have the greatest potential for significant savings and increased competitiveness through energy efficiency, followed by households. Energy Cultures 2 will work with all these sectors to support a faster and more effective uptake of energy efficiency. It will also support the uptake of new energy-efficient transport technologies and practices, and identify system-wide changes that will be required. It will provide personally targeted information on highest-impact energy-efficiency actions for homes and businesses, and transport. It will work closely with businesses to promote market opportunities in new transport technologies, fuels and services. The project builds on the interdisciplinary teamwork and knowledge base of the very successful Energy Cultures research project on household energy behaviours. Workstreams include

- creating an informed national conversation about future transport for NZ - building a detailed picture of trends in energy-related behaviour

- delivering personally tailored energy advice on energy efficient choices via an online program

- identifying householder and business interest in uptake of new transport technologies and practices

- working with businesses to identify new opportunities in future transport

- identifying policy changes needed to shift to a clean, energy-efficient transport system - carrying out action research with early adopters of efficient transport

- evaluating a national pilot project on adoption of new transport technologies and practices

- using system dynamics modelling to integrate findings from the whole project, portray causal links, and enable options to be tested via simulation

More efficient use of energy is one of the four priority areas in the NZ Energy Strategy 2011, which identifies the greatest potential in the transport and business sectors, followed by households.  Energy efficiency offers a remarkable range of direct and indirect benefits to households and businesses, through uptake of new technologies, better insulation and more efficient practices. In transport, NZ?s light vehicle fleet is largely reliant on fossil fuels with a high proportion of older inefficient cars, and there are significant opportunities for energy savings and new business investment in shifting to new transport technologies and practices.  Energy Cultures 2 supports the achievement of government targets for energy efficiency in these areas.  As a hub of information and action, Energy Cultures 2 will support government targets for energy efficiency and transport energy use, and will assist in greater engagement of the market in new opportunities that are opening up as NZ transitions to new transport technologies and practices.

Overall, our research will support a faster and more effective uptake of energy efficiency measures in households and small-medium businesses, leading to warmer homes and more competitive businesses.  In transport, our work will support adoption of more efficient travel by individuals and businesses, and will identify pathways and opportunities for NZ in shifting from its current largely inefficient transport system to new transport technologies, fuels and practices.  We will continue to use and develop our widely-lauded ?energy cultures framework? which offers new insights into understanding and changing energy behaviours, and will identify ?energy cultures? amongst SMEs and in relation to transport. This will aid in developing and testing the right levers to ?nudge? NZ?s energy cultures in the direction of greater efficiency. We have developed the detailed research programme in consultation with a range of government and industry stakeholders, and have co-funding offers from EECA, Z Energy, Mighty River Power, and Dunedin and Hamilton City Councils.

The research builds on the strengths of the interdisciplinary team involved in the current Energy Cultures research project on household energy behavior, and brings in additional team members with expertise in transport and business.  It is led Prof Rob Lawson and Dr Janet Stephenson, with Dr Paul Thorsnes, Dr Rebecca Ford, Dr John Williams and Dr Sara Walton from the University of Otago; Dr Barry Barton from the University of Waikato, and subcontractors Emeritus Prof Gerry Carrington, Dr Charles Sullivan, and David Rees.  We have set up an international collaborative network which includes key researchers at universities of Oxford, Durham, University College London, Sydney and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.



Dr Janet Stephenson   ph

Prof Rob Lawson   ph

Dr Rebecca Ford   ph