The goal of the project is to understand how major changes to home heating and heating technology over the last 70 years have been designed, managed and experienced, and how they have impacted our lives and what lessons we might learn for the current transition to low carbon systems.
The project is implemented by the Babes-Bolyai University, in a consortium led by Sheffield Hallam University (UK), with the participation of the Universities in Tampere (Finland) and Lund (Sweden).
The project will be concluded in December 31st, 2024.
Technology-driven low carbon transitions are significantly reorganising the way people use energy and trigger deeper transformations of societies, economies and cultures. They may help to resolve some inequalities created by fossil-fuel societies, whilst deepening others and creating new injustices. On the other hand, they may enable a more just distribution of energy and the empowerment of marginalised groups.
At higher latitudes, domestic heating is one of our most fundamental uses of energy and the way we heat our homes reflects societal, economic, cultural and political change right at the heart of the home. As we race to decarbonise and digitalise home heating in light of the climate emergency, this project seeks to look backwards in order to move forwards by using oral history techniques and the communicative power of the arts to support the policy communities driving this transition to consider the justice implications and differential impacts of their policies. We will assemble multi-media accounts of historic and more recent heating transitions and associated technological change (over the last 50-60 years), to illustrate how they impact unevenly and diversely yet profoundly on the conditions of life.
Presently, every heating transition is treated as a fresh challenge and efforts are seldom made to learn across time and place meaning that progress is lost and injustices replicated or deepened. We will work across eight case study locations across the UK, Finland, Sweden and Romania to revisit past transitions and reveal the complex impacts of heating transitions on everyday life, identifying benefits to replicate and adverse consequences to minimise. Policy makers and influencers will co-create the data and analysis with researchers and will come together with the public through online and in person events and exhibitions, providing a rare direct connection to end users. Our interdisciplinary approach will overcome the disciplinary siloes that typically characterise the study of energy and buildings and through the introduction of oral history and arts-based techniques, will also stretch the philosophical and methodological boundaries of energy studies.