Social Acceptance of Energy Retrofit in Social Housing: Beyond the Technological Viewpoint
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Optimized energy systems are achieved by an increase in energy efficiency in parallel with energy savings. SINFONIA is an FP7 European-funded project that aims to implement smart initiatives for optimized energy systems through deep-energy retrofit of social housing buildings in middle-size European cities (i.e., Bolzano, Italy). From a technical viewpoint, the project’s main challenge is facing retrofit interventions in inhabited flats; from a social one, the challenge is engaging tenants in the project to achieve an effective decrease in energy consumption through a change in energy use, behaviors, and practices. The bridge between technical and social viewpoints is created thanks to an engagement process of tenants that has the support of some tools, such as the smart-energy meter. The involvement of tenants in engagement activities and smart-energy meter interaction must necessarily account for their characteristics as social actors. A thorough description and analysis of tenants’ characteristics is therefore one of the most important starting points in such a research project. The aim of our work is to support experts in the design of smart-energy meters providing them with a methodology for the description and analysis of tenants’ characteristics and social contexts. We perform a cluster analysis on the socio-demographic data of tenants involved in the Bolzano SINFONIA case study, identifying three relevant clusters according to family characteristics. Our future research will focus on the design of smart-energy meters and the development of participatory and learning activities addressed to SINFONIA tenants in order to ensure energy savings.
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