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An evolutionary innovation perspective on the selection of low and zero carbon technologies in new housing

Lees, T. and Sexton, M. (2013) An evolutionary innovation perspective on the selection of low and zero carbon technologies in new housing. Building Research and Information, 42 (3). pp. 276-287. ISSN 1466-4321

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2013.819547


The Code for Sustainable Homes (the Code) will require new homes in the United Kingdom to be ‘zero carbon’ from 2016. Drawing upon an evolutionary innovation perspective, this paper contributes to a gap in the literature by investigating which low and zero carbon technologies are actually being used by house builders, rather than the prevailing emphasis on the potentiality of these technologies. Using the results from a questionnaire three empirical contributions are made. First, house builders are selecting a narrow range of technologies. Second, these choices are made to minimise the disruption to their standard design and production templates (SDPTs). Finally, the coalescence around a small group of technologies is expected to intensify with solar-based technologies predicted to become more important. This paper challenges the dominant technical rationality in the literature that technical efficiency and cost benefits are the primary drivers for technology selection. These drivers play an important role but one which is mediated by the logic of maintaining the SDPTs of the house builders. This emphasises the need for construction diffusion of innovation theory to be problematized and developed within the context of business and market regimes constrained and reproduced by resilient technological trajectories.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:33498
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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