CHOREOGRAPHING NETWORK-BASED INFLUENCES ON THE HOMEOWNERS’ DECISION JOURNEY ABOUT ENERGY-RELATED RENOVATIONS
Free (open access)
117 - 129
MARIA ISABEL ABREU, RUI A. F. DE OLIVEIRA, JORGE LOPES
Community engagement with the energy efficiency in housing is seen as a very challenging strategy that governments need to prioritize for climate agenda. Recent studies shed light on the underlying influences of some networks of actors in the homeowners’ decision to improve the energy-efficiency of their homes. Understanding the accurate role that both social and professional networks within communities play among homeowners seems to be paramount for energy policies enlargement and effectiveness. In a network level perspective, interpersonal communication, which has so far been undervalued, appears to be an influential mode of trust and information to energy-related activities. An exploratory research has been carried out in order to gain a sense about the whole chain in action between the above mentioned actors as agents of change. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with different Portuguese stakeholders involved in the renovation journey of owner occupied single-family houses were conducted. The findings signpost that interpersonal networks play a trustworthy and beneficial source of information along the entire renovation decision-making journey. In general, these interpersonal connections are conveyed in the social network activating the homeowners’ willingness to renovate, being a reliable channel for peer learning, guiding homeowners in the selection of professionals and acting also as an evaluative judgement tool to assess these same professionals in their technical advice. The results strengthen the view that the sense of neighbourliness, proximity and cooperation between citizens engaged in energy issues could pave the way to empower these utmost interpersonal networks which can have positive effects to encouraging house energy improvements.
energy policies, homeowners, decision-making, social networks, renovation market professionals