Participatory Assessment Of Sustainable End-user Technology In Austria
Free (open access)
M. Ornetzeder, U. Bechtold & M. Nentwich
This paper reports on experiences using a participative technology assessment (pTA) approach to discuss and evaluate research and development goals for sustainable energy technology in Austria. In a two-day Future Search & Assessment conference in November 2007, 36 per representative quota selected laypeople discussed the future of energy research in Austria on two different levels: general visions of sustainability as well as deduced short-term aspects regarding the present end-user related energy research agenda. The strategy chosen consists of a well-balanced mix of focus groups, plenary sessions, expert inputs, and moderated working groups. The five topics discussed in the laypeople’s conference were: micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP), new system solutions and avoidance strategies, smart metering and ‘intelligent’ end user equipment, innovative contracting and leasing models, and visualization and monitoring devices. We aim to show that pTA can contribute twofold to technical innovation: Firstly, it can contribute to the social robustness of the underlying strategies and scenarios of relevant research programmes; and secondly, the research topics that directly refer to the end-users can be critically evaluated in terms of social acceptability and user friendliness. Moreover the chosen approach serves as a platform to discuss long-term energy policies as well as practical consequences. Keywords: energy technology, applied research, sustainability, end user, technology assessment, laypeople participation.
energy technology, applied research, sustainability, end user, technology assessment, laypeople participation