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Document Number CLNR-L236

Date Posted 26-Feb 2015

Key Social Science Findings: Domestic and SME Customers


This report draws on qualitative and quantitative and quantitative social research conducted across the 5 test cells within the CLNR project.

We have adopted a socio-technical approach to where we seek to take account of the ways in which electricity use and its flexibility are shaped by social and material factors. The approach developed through analysis we have conducted across the various test cells suggests that energy use is shaped by the interaction of five core elements:

  • Conventions: A shared sense of what is considered to be normal energy use. Conventions are shaped through, for example, standards, cultural expectations, design of appliances.
  • Capacities: the ability and potential for objects, artefacts, and techniques to use energy and provide energy services, constituted through their design, physicality, knowledge and know-how.
  • Rhythms: the multiple rhythms operating at daily, weekly, monthly, annual scales through which activities are organised and patterned
  • Economies: dispositions towards and management of social, natural and financial resources and investments
  • Structures: enduring features of the socio-material world, e.g. structures of employment, school hours, building structures, layouts and materials, systems of energy provision, family structures, household life-stages, social class

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