Beyond the technical: a snapshot of energy and buildings research
To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2012.675713
The past decade has witnessed a sharp increase in published research on energy and buildings. This paper takes stock of work in this area, with a particular focus on construction research and the analysis of non-technical dimensions. While there is widespread recognition as to the importance of non-technical dimensions, research tends to be limited to individualistic studies of occupants and occupant behavior. In contrast, publications in the mainstream social science literature display a broader range of interests, including policy developments, structural constraints on the diffusion and use of new technologies and the construction process itself. The growing interest of more generalist scholars in energy and buildings provides an opportunity for construction research to engage a wider audience. This would enrich the current research agenda, helping to address unanswered problems concerning the relatively weak impact of policy mechanisms and new technologies and the seeming recalcitrance of occupants. It would also help to promote the academic status of construction research as a field. This, in turn, depends on greater engagement with interpretivist types of analysis and theory building, thereby challenging deeply ingrained views on the nature and role of academic research in construction.