Energy insecurity in Nord-Pas-de-Calais: insecurity at home and overall energy vulnerability – study financed by the French government organisation PUCA (Master Plans, Planning, Construction, Architecture).

Hervé BARRY (Catholic University of Lille/CRESGE)
Agathe DOUCHET (Catholic University of Lille/CRESGE)

The research is focused on energy usage dynamics in homes and when travelling. The aim is to better define the impact of lifestyle. This results in an analytical model organised with three focuses: permeability to consumption norms; the importance of geographical mobility, and households turning in on the home and/or its inhabitants.
The 35 households interviewed are divided between the three focuses of the model. A structure based on “non-permeability” to superfluous consumption and the tendency towards “the household turning in on itself” predominates. There is no obvious link between mobility and either of the other two variables retained. Moreover, a clear correlation appears between lifestyle and specific energy vigilance indices: the most vigilant are on the side of restriction (on consumption and mobility) combined with the household turning in on itself.
Biographical events alter the relationship with energy. While the influence of position in the lifecycle and difficulty in paying bills is well known, that of modernisation work and following energy advice workshops still requires confirmation.
As for mobility, it is clear that there is little correlation between transport choices and truly economic thinking. Based on the evidence, households have little margin for manoeuvre considering the strong economic constraints on them and movements that cannot be reduced.

KEY WORDS: lifestyle, energy, domestic consumption, mobility.

Fuel poverty: The contribution sociology might play in facing the problem.

Ilaria BERETTA (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart)

Fuel poverty is a relatively new subject in European political agendas. With the exception of Great Britain, which has been aware of the problem for about thirty years (Walker, Day, 2012), it is only recently that other countries have started to face the matter (among others, Brunner et al., 2012; Dubois, 2012; Tirado Herrero and Ürge – Vorsatz, 2010). Within the European Union furthermore, over recent years, with the annexation of the Eastern-European countries and the serious problem of the bad energy performance which, on average, distinguishes its buildings (World Bank, 2000; Ürge – Vorsatz et al., 2006; Buzar, 2007; Boardman, 2010), the issue is gaining in importance. We are instead not aware that, in the USA, China, the Russian Federation and in developing countries this issue is being substantially addressed (Healy, 2004; Buzar, 2007; Morgan, 2008, EPEE project, 2009).
From a conceptual viewpoint, the specific topic of ‘fuel poverty’ can be traced back to the more general problem of social inequality and the distribution effects of policies which, in recent years have been of great interest in OECD Countries and in the European Union (European Commission, 2010; European Commission European Parliament, Club of Rome, OECD, WWF, 2009; OECD, 2011, 2011b; Sen, 1997; Stiglitz et al. 2009). The policies implemented thus far nevertheless have been fragmentary and not specifically directed towards solving the problem in question.
The dual aims of this paper are (a) to contribute to raising the awareness about the problem, currently only studied by a small circle of experts; (b) to reflect upon the role Sociology could play in facing the fuel poverty.
The paper will be substantially split into three parts. To start with, a first illustration of the defining question, considering that at European level an agreement has not yet been reached as regards the terminology to be used (fuel poverty or energy poverty?), nor as regards the precise meaning of the expression.
Subsequently, some details will be provided as regards just how widespread the phenomenon is in Europe and on the instruments currently being used to overcome it.
Finally, a few considerations will be made on what contribution the sociological discipline could give both to finding an ample and inclusive terminological definition and to identifying the most effective solutions to the problem.

social inequities, distributive effects, energy efficiency, liveability of buildings, urban sustainability.

When energy consumption weakens households.

Mireille BOULEAU (Urban Planning Institute of Ile-de-France)
LUCILE METTETAL ( Urban Planning Institute of Ile-de-France)

It is widely believed that urban sprawl does not only consume precious land resources, but is also largely responsible for the high costs of infrastructure and high energy use.
It has been demonstrated that low-density areas are the urban places where energy consumption per capita is the most important. In terms of daily mobility, there is a difference of one to three, for a person comparable in terms of age and income, between an inner-city resident and an outer-suburban one.
So, households living in outer suburbs are more sensitive to fuel price increases. Their “oil vulnerability” is higher. Economic pressures may have led to important changes in the suburban way of life.
The first question is: “Who” are the social groups that are the most concerned with the energy issue?” The second question is: “How do people tackle this issue?’. What are the main consequences on mobility and housing?
At first, a statistical analysis shows a wide range of different populations which are more or less interlaced. Different profiles of households, but territories which seem to accumulate signs of fragility and to draw a new geographic map where new public action could be implemented.
A qualitative survey has completed this approach. Energy behaviour regarding housing and mobility has been studied in parallel. The results of this survey makes it possible to estimate the capacity of households to change their energy behaviour as far as mobility and housing are concerned and to anticipate what residential strategies households opt for to cope with energy constraints. This survey reveals and puts forward the difficulties met with, mainly by owner-occupiers of their houses. Indeed, to keep their house, they adopt restrictive but also ingenious and complex strategies. This sophisticated balance must not and cannot be affected in any way as the risk of social toppling over is always present.
Owner-occupiers, often mixed up with a privileged class, escape public aid alerts. The cost of suburban or rural home ownership can become difficult to bear for modest households, when the price for their chosen way of life was unforeseen.

KEY WORDS: modest owners, energy effort, restrictions, strategies, skills.

Analysis of individual strategies of households in fuel poverty in their homes. Testimonials and deciphering.

Isolde DEVALIERE (Departemental CTSB/Economy and Human Sciences)

The sociological survey conducted CSTB for PREBAT (2007-2010) allowed to identify different strategies of warming : a constant comfort even if it means getting into debt, looking for a rough comfort or stopping gas or electric heating. We suggest to highlight the domestic practices of households.
We study the representations about the cost of energy, the practices of cooking, the uses of the water and the practices of aeration and venting which can damage the quality of the indoor air quality. Finally we identify the strategies of each one to find a precarious balance between thermic comfort and budget management and palliative tactics against cold and dampness.
We propose to illustrate the consequences of fuel poverty on elderly in search of comfort, on children, on the relations between households and their owners. Finally we shall study which are value systems to prove restrictive practices of consumption, the individual standards and the representations of the thermal comfort considered as a luxury or a necessity, generated by a cultural heritage, singular residential trajectory and often forced installation.

KEY WORDS: fuel poverty, domestic practices, individual strategies, thermal discomfort, heating deprivation.

When energy is lacking » : a fiction made for disseminating sociological research results about fuel poverty in rural areas.


In order to disseminate the results of sociological researches conducted by EDF-R&D in the field of fuel poverty, we made a short fiction film.
This film was designed in order to allow us to disseminate information in a striking, original way, both inside and outside EDF. We did also use it as an experimental tool, in order to get reactions from some fuel poor persons.
The script of this fiction has been written together with about 20 people working in EDF, including sociologists, doctors, or solidarity correspondents. The initial idea was to focus on rural fuel poors, in order to dispel stereotypes about fuel poors all living in urban environment, and to take transportation problems, which are particularly crucial in this places into account.
We focused on a neocountry family, and introduced the other types of fuel poverty situations through the interactions the family had with its environment.
The film shows how energy problems can push people into poverty, and features a series of mechanisms such as abstinence from heating, loneliness of rural fuel poor, specific problems for people who can’t benefit from social assistance because they are just over the thresholds, problems to invest for energy efficient equipments, stigma refusal, non take-up etc.
After the film, we give some information about fuel poverty in order to put what has been shown in the fiction in perspective with facts and figures.
We propose to present the film and to say a few words about the way it is used, inside and outside EDF. We may also speak about the experimental using on this film during fuel poors focus groups.

KEY WORDS: fiction, fuel poverty, sociology, film, rural areas.

Energy sobriety in relation to the restriction of energy consumption: the case of households affected by fuel poverty.

Sihame HINI (University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines/REEDS)
Jean-Marc DOUGUET (University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines /REEDS)

Energy sobriety is one of the major stakes in energy transition. To establish energy frugality, it will be necessary to work on the innovations and the efficiency of materials on the one hand but it is also necessary to work on the change of behavior and to revolutionize modes of living on the other hand. Often we handle this issue in a very restricted way, for many, energy sobriety is limited only to saving and to reducing household consumption. Nevertheless, there is a class of population which hardly consumes any energy, most of the households affected by energy precariousness take the path of limitation and are obliged to make a choice between rent and/or food on one side, and energy consumption on the other. Initiatives towards energy sobriety must take into account this category of households which are in a situation of extreme vulnerability and which do not however consume enough to have an adequately life.
The control of energy cannot always rely exclusively on reduction. In this article and through a systematic method we are going to show that energy consumption must reflect utility. The differences at the level of the socioeconomic classes, of the thermal quality of buildings as well as the organization of every household make some consumption a stake in injustice, equity needs to be at the heart of energy sobriety and so that the latter may be instituted, we have to establish a table of parameters as well as a reference threshold of consumption which can take the place of the rate of energy effort and work with the various systems bound to the household.
The objective of this article is to work at first on the clarification of the definition of energy sobriety in order to then consider disparities of consumption and to find a balance between utility of energy consumption and energy expenditure.

KEY WORDS: energy sobriety, energy restraint, energy management, equity, utility of consumption.

Energy consumption of households in fuel poverty: stresses and resistances.

Elsa LAGIER (CePeD ; GDF Suez/CRIGEN ; DynamE)

The phenomena of fuel poverty catch more and more attention of both public and private institutions in a context of a strong injunction towards energy savings and increasing energy costs. Thus, the Department of Environmental and Social Responsibility at GDF Suez tries to adapt its offerings to the most vulnerable clients, while supporting them in a dynamic of control of their consumption.
The tools implemented seek to take into account the complexity of the logic at work in the way households consume energy in the domestic sphere. This complexity has been enlighten by a sociological study, based on a qualitative methodology, that I conducted in 2014 for the CRIGEN (GDF Suez). Fifteen household interviews in their homes, allowed to examine the variety of energy practices by taking in account their objective social status and the way they experience it subjectively. This was to try to understand the trade-offs made in the consumption choices, starting from this observation: their energy practices don’t follow the model of homo economicus; the most vulnerable ones are not the most efficient savers. How can we understand that the aim of their practices isn’t always to reduce bills? What are the other rationalities at work?
Using examples, I propose to interpret the energy practices of some households as forms of “resistance” guided by the preservation of a positive image of themselves and an autonomy, which are undermined by stresses, injunctions and stigmatization that they have to face.
Access to energy reveal the dynamics of social inequalities. The fuel poor are at the bottom of the social hierarchy and build their energy practices in response to this position, whether it is to claim for social assistance perceived as legitimate, to criticize the norms set by others, to preserve comfort by “over-consumption”, etc.

KEY WORDS: fuel poverty, energy practices, social norms, resistances, stigmatization.

Fuel poverty: educative measures for proper fuel consumption behaviour as an inadequate response to this social issue.

Johanna LEES (Norbert Elias Center)

Situated at the confluence of housing policies, the challenges of sustainable development, the city and social issues, fuel poverty is considered a social problem and, as such, is an item on the political agenda in France today. In this paper we will analyse the various measures designed to inculcate proper fuel consumption behaviour and will seek to establish how these measures, from a social standpoint, can appear to be paradoxical or out of phase.
Secondly this paper will try to show how these measures aimed at the most deprived contribute to a form of modern hygienics. Finally it will aim at shedding light on how these measures are perceived by those who are involved in them (social workers and target population) and, beyond that, on to what extent they are inadequate given the material living conditions of the latter.

KEY WORDS: fuel poverty, hygienics, energy, consumption, comfort, rundown housing.

Representing the situations of fuel poverty.

Stéphanie LACOMBE (freelance photographer)

The communication will present a series of high-quality photographs , together with a sociological insight on a range of fuel poverty situations. The series of chosen situations will expose the living conditions of people affected by fuel poverty , as well as the way they adapt to it. The communication is based on interviews highlighting the effects of fuel poverty on everyday life, and on a photographic approach producing telling representations of these situations. The aim is to show people coping with comfortless housing conditions, and to make tangible how they experience and adapt to these situations, in which the heating failure induces a cascade of daily difficulties.

KEY WORDS: fuel poverty, poor housing, sociology, photography, representations.

« Being frugal », a social practice : cultural-proof energy savings.

Fanny PARISE (Paris Descartes University ; Anthropologist freelance ; Solidar’Energie)

Fuel poverty is not unique. It is plural. Correlated to the diversity of inhabitants practice, enter the « meaning » equal to develop a « state of play » of the diversity of inhabitants practices MDE practices.
Houshold energy practices represent a socio-cultural construction. The ethnographic observation of in situ uses of inhabitants sheds light on the lifestyles, beliefs and material constraints which must deal with individuals. Partial answers already exista cross territories to fight against fuel poverty, such as installing « smart » meters in social homes where residents are accompanied by local structures that transmit « good practices MDE » through communication media or « energy advice ». Our fieldwork shows that the change of inhabitants practice requires not only learning « more efficient » practices, but also their integration within a system of values that makes « sens » for the individual.
Our work put into perspective the holistic dimension of energy-saving practices. Hypotheses emerginf field interviews and observations made in the Rhône-Alpes region ans Paris Petite-Couronne : turn off the light when leaving a room, turn up the heat until it reaches a satisfactory level of comfort, choose the type electrical household appliances and use practices is a social act, a symbolic act. These practices are socially constructed and situated fit within a set of contextual, environmental and physical constraints. Various factors affect household energy practices such as tenure (tenant, owner, home resident), occupancy (single person or household), place of residence (city center, suburban, country), the type of habitat (habitat individually, through, dense, light), the age of housing and building standards (RT 2005-2012, BBC), but also the type energy equipment housing, the level of seniority and the ernergy class of objects in the home, the level of knowledge of « good energy practices », the actual practices of users and the sociability of the individual (isolated, socialized, engaged). At the micro-individual level, other factors also have an impact on the energy practices of the people, such as physical or psychological state of the individual life cycles (be of working age, being retired, habe a daily activity (outside or inside the home) and economic ressources (expenditure constraints, rest-to-live).
The collective reflection Solidar’Energie, which values the fight against energy poverty at the territorial level, questions the diversity of energy practices to provide a comprehensive response and support land management tool of fuel poverty. Through its cross-cutting approach that mobilizes collective sociology of energy as possible understanding of issues lever, customs and practices of energy.

KEY WORDS: energy saving, culture, sense, diversity, vulnerability.

SLIME, local program to identify households living in fuel poverty.


CLER has developed SLIME program (Local Services of intervention for energy conservation), based on the “Socio-technical compared analysis of programs reducing fioul poverty and construction of targeted intervention strategies” , a study produced under the ADEME-PREBAT PUCA program. The program aims at identifying massively households living in fuel poverty and exists in twenty-four local territories in France.
SLIME is a unique local desk, taking care of all energy insecurity, regardless of the occupancy status of households. It aims to:
- centralize to a single platform (physical and / or telephone) reports of poor households who are experiencing difficulties related to energy in their homes
- achieve a socio-technical diagnosis to household home to understand the situation, install small energy-saving equipments
- encourage all players in the area able to offer sustainable solutions to households, to know, dialogue and organize around this platform, in order to guide families to the most suitable solutions of action
Initial estimatations (based on 317 households and will be updated early 2015) show that two-thirds of households are identified by by social workers. After one or two visits, they are oriented to a renovation solution and to numerous and various organizations (social, energy, budgetary support …).
In 2013 and 2014, nearly 4,000 visits were scheduled in households living in fuel poverty. In 2015 an additional 3,000 households will benefit from this device.

KEY WORDS: fuel poverty, households visit, territorial organization, households identification, local authorities.


Sociological study of the acceptance of Demand Response in office buildings.


“Smart grids” emerged as a concept of network that might be capable of responding to energy challenges such as constant increase in consumption, risks of high peaks of demand, or the development of renewable energies with intermittent production. Facing these challenges requires electricity system able to adapting to complex balance between production and consumption.
Drawing on information and communication technologies (ICT), Smart Grids are based on the principle of real-time management of the network through the exchange of data between consumers and providers. The focus is on the “Demand Response”: managing the network by the demand rather than on production capacities while placing greater reliance on storage.
The REFLEXE project, commissioned by the French Environment and Energy Agency (Ademe), comprises several firms (Veolia, Alstom, Sagemcom), an engineering school (Supelec) and a public research institute (CEA INES) working in the fields of energy, environment and ICT. REFLEXE consists of an experimental project using large-scale smart grids in South-east of France. VERI (Veolia Recherche et Innovation) has tested the technical and social feasibility of the concept of “demand response” on air conditioning and heating in offices of two buildings.
This «demand-response» mechanism supposes that, sometimes, the thermal comfort level of the building users may change. In this context, the issue to be addressed to the sociologists was to evaluate what kind of flexibility was considered to be acceptable or not by the office workers.
This work, based on both technical and sociological assumptions, involved collaboration between engineers in the field of energy and researchers in humanities to test “demand responses” in office buildings and to collect and analyze the perceptions of the workers about effects and purposes of this innovation.
On one side, a sample of people was asked about how they perceived the practice of the demand response. Scenarios underpinning the innovation were explained to these individuals to help them make the connection between the demand response being introduced in their workplace and broader issues concerning the Electricity System while employees had the opportunity to participate in the tests. The criteria mobilized by the individuals to subscribe or reject this innovation were highlighted and analyzed.
On the other side, the feeling and the acceptance of changes in the thermal comfort were evaluated during the testing phases.
For this seminar we propose to present the results of these two complementary approaches.

KEY WORDS: Experiment; Demand Response; Smart Grids; Acceptance; Perception of comfort.

Energy efficiency in enterprises: what feelings from employees?

Amélie COULBAUT-LAZZARINI (University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin en Yvelines)
Thibault DANTEUR (University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin en Yvelines)

With national and European objectives towards energy transition, firms implement internal and external policies to reduce their energy footprint (Laperche & Lefebvre, 2012). So, whatever is the motivation to implement the policy, either cost reduction inside the firm or external stance aiming to reinforce the corporate social responsibility image (Pluchart, 2013), reduction of energy consumption is more and more central for enterprises. But do employees also take care of it?
Based on a field work led for years in two collaborative research projects (Coulbaut-Lazzarini & Némoz, 2013), we aim to look for actors perceptions about efforts towards energy consumption reduction and development of more renewable energy solutions. These two projects are quite different, but have common industrial actors. Their objectives are, for the first one, to reduce energy consumption in tertiary buildings, and for the other, to develop an intelligent charging solution allowing to develop employees electric mobility.
These two projects (EPIT 2.0 and ECO2CHARGE) are funded by various institutional partners, at a local or national level. They integrate both internal objectives (energy efficiency, help for alternative mobility…) and external ones (posting of environmental preoccupation, corporate social responsibility, commercialization of a charging system…). We collected data from stakeholders involved in these projects and from final users (Gutman & Glazer, 2009; Morel-Brochet & Ortar, 2014) of these projects. So we can analyze their perception (Knox, 1987), as employees of the companies or as citizens or simple users facing constraints and having particular motivations (Maresca & Dujin, 2014). It is then interesting to see if their analysis of their companies policies are similar or opposite, according to what position they adopt. Can we then distinguish two really different points of view? Does it allow a more objective perception or not? Can we observe dissensions or tensions between employees or citizens speeches? We will question these aspects in our communication, and we will analyze it from an empirical-deductive approach that will let the most possible place for field data studied from qualitative and quantitative methods.

KEY WORDS: sociology, energy, building, mobility, professional environment.

Des déplacements contraints par l’activité professionnelle. Le cas des professionnels mobiles.


Les professionnels mobiles sont des actifs qui, pour exercer leur métier doivent se déplacer de façon autonome en dehors de leurs entreprises ou structures d’appartenance pour se rendre chez un « client » sur un site particulier où leur compétence et leur intervention est requise.
Les professionnels mobiles se distinguent d’une part des professionnels du transport dont le cœur de métier est la production de déplacement de personnes ou de biens et d’autre part de l’ensemble des actifs qui réalisent de simples trajets domicile – travail.
Les professionnels mobiles représentent environ un quart des actifs en France, une population qui a connu une croissance rapide même si elle semble stagner ces dernières années.
De statuts variables (indépendants, salariés, commerciaux, cadres, ingénieurs, techniciens, ouvriers) ils sont engagés dans une grande diversité de situations de travail qui vont des prestations de service, la vente, les soins à la personne, en passant par la maintenance, le dépannage, la réparation à l’installation et la réalisation de travaux.
Ils travaillent pour des services aux entreprises industrielles, commerciales et tertiaires, pour des services aux bailleurs et sociétés de gestion d’immeubles résidentiels, pour des services aux particuliers que ce soit dans l’habitat, ou que ce soit dans des services à la personne.
Sur la base de plusieurs enquêtes par entretiens et observations, cette communication vise à montrer que pour les professionnels mobiles l’activité de déplacement est certes une activité indispensable à l’exercice de leur métier, mais reste une activité secondaire par rapport à leur métier, souvent dévalorisée voire niée et qui, à ce titre est particulièrement difficile à atteindre par des appels à la sobriété énergétique.
En effet les professionnels mobiles rencontrent au cours de leurs déplacements de multiples aléas de la circulation (encombrements, difficultés de stationnements, etc.). Ces aléas peuvent considérablement perturber les conditions de leur activité professionnelle principale. Ils mettent alors en place diverses stratégies pour minimiser la portée de ces aléas dûs aux déplacements. Mais dans leur activité professionnelle principale ils rencontrent également des aléas consommatrices de temps. Ils ont alors tendance à en reporter la gestion sur l’activité secondaire non valorisée, le déplacement, ou se cumulent par conséquence un nombre considérable de contraintes.

MOTS CLÉS : Professionnel mobile, travail, déplacement professionnel, activité secondaire, aléas de la circulation.

The key role of occupants of an energy efficient office building.

Delphine LABBOUZ-HENRY (University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La Défense ; Elithis Group)

Today, energy conservation in buildings is one of the most accurate ways to achieve a more sustainable society. Companies are responding to pressures to reduce the environmental impact of their activities.
Technological advances are necessary but not sufficient. It is also needed to accompanying changes of lifestyle and behaviors through a better understanding of their psychosocial and organizational antecedents.
Our study aims to determine which factors influence environmentally friendly behaviors at work, in a high energy efficient building. We want to examine the perceptions of the occupants, their feelings and experience in the building, in order to improve their comfort and quality of life, and to reduce energy consumption.
Through the thematic analysis of the contents of 22 semi-guided interviews, we elaborate a survey proposed to 116 employees. About 150 items deal with the following subjects: perceived quality of the workplace (visual, thermal and acoustic comfort, etc.), appropriation and workplace attachment, perception of energy, feeling of control, social norms, environmental attitudes, pro-environmental behaviors at home and in work settings, perceptions of the company and feeling of organizational justice.
The qualitative and quantitative results will be exposed and discussed. In summary, interviewees declare that technologies make the appropriation of the building more complex and difficult. They feel that they have little room for maneuver and little personal control on energy consumption, due to the important level of automation. The feeling of control strongly impact employees’ satisfaction and well-being at work.
Users have expressed their need of coherence, at all levels, between:
- private and professional areas;
- employees’ behaviors and superiors’ ones, in all the fields of sustainable development (and not only energy);
- users’ expected behaviors and their real room for actions;
- energy saving objectives and comfort.Furthermore, results show that certain dimensions explicate pro-environmental behaviors at work, for example perceived quality of the workplace, feeling of control and organizational justice, social norms, pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors at home.
These results underline the complementary role of personal predispositions and organizational context. Interventions aiming at energy saving in office buildings have to undertake programs of actions dealing with these two fields.
Finally, the use of new technologies lead to the necessity to provide information about the building’s proper functioning and a real accompanying when occupants enter in the premises.

KEY WORDS: office building, pro-environmental behaviors, energy saving, psychosocial audit, change management.

Coriolis in use: an efficient building in question.

Hélène SUBRÉMON (Saint-Gobain Recherche)

« In lab of mathematics, it’s well known : a cup of coffee, a theorem. No coffee, no theorem. Not having a microwave, it is binding and it doesn’t sound like this is the issue here! »
New construction is now subject to strict regulations, particularly focused on thermal quality (Debizet, 2012). These regulations have produced a race among labels attesting the quality of the project in regards of energy and ecology aspects. Therefore these labels become both modes of certification and a way for the industry sector to develop, communicate, promote buildings, highlighting their technical performance and its architectural prowess.
This proliferation of new labels ans standards and this new-born economy of technical norms obviously interrogate the field of social sciences in terms of what prevail to ensure better compliance with the amount of technical requirements. They also interrogate their performativity in relation to end-users. What kind of performance is it about? actual or estimated? What endurance can we lend to a building labeled for its design, but not for its maintenance?
The frame of the sociology of usages has been widely mobilized to understand the terms of appropriation of space (Raymond and Haumont, 1966). It is now refreshed, as a result of the challenges of energy transition (Renauld, 2013; Flamand and Roudil, 2013). Other works (Zelem and Beslay, 2014; Brisepierre, 2013) mobilize socio-technical and organizational professional approaches and question the injunction of technical performance in the light of the logic of social practices.
To contribute to these reflections, we have chosen as a field of inquiry a building “Coriolis”. This building was delivered in 2012. It is located in “la Cité Descartes”, in Champs-sur-Marne (Paris Suburb). It hosts laboratories of l’Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, a Design school, and classrooms. Designed by Atelier Roche, it has been labelled Plus Energy Building. The building claims to meet the highest standards.
In parallel, we have investigated the building using ethnographic approches. This fieldwork offers a different point of view: appropriation of the building is not a given but has to be planned; this appropriation would be significantly improved by developing skills both of its occupants and its maintenance services.

MOTS CLÉS :efficient building, end-users, PlusEnergy, abilities/skills.

Users, key actors of the cube 2020 competition.

Nathalie TIMORES (Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research).

The real consumption of the building site is largely conditioned by the practices and behaviour of users. It’s a complex mixture of representations and habits. Then the objectives of energetic performance is high and all our thoughts concern directly our way of life and our professional skills.
Several leverages are deployed to act on the practices and cultural behaviour : such as having new tools for the measurement of the energetic performance. During 2014 competition we will measure our base of real consumption and will have a feed back of our experiment to improve our actions.
The Ministry is inscribed in a common action which will promote energetic performance which will serve as an example of sustainable development for global performance.
With strong leadership each site in the competition develops partnerships for action ( Initiating training conférences, communicating with each occupant and valorising the positive results.
The objectives are that everyone obtains information that is necessary for action regarding energy consumption, and our positive and encouraging results are recognized and applied to all the services of the Ministry.

KEY WORDS: consumption, measurement, organizational scheme, usage.


Energy consumption behaviours’ observation study in private dwellings.

Marguerite BONNIN (LAVUE ; CSTB)

In order to cover the existing deficit about how daily activities of energy consumption in housing really happen, we conducted an observation study concentrated on private housing deprived with an ethnographical approach, that is resting on data observed in situ (presence of five days in six households’ housing, from waking up until bedtime, with statement minute after minute of the inhabitants’ gestures, movement, without participation of the investigator in the domestic activities).
These observations, retranscribed in the form of index cards (plan of the accommodation, equipments in use, presence and position of the household’s members and activity), allow to read the link between energy consumption and material capital of the households, revealing the degree of adequacy of the housing to the activities of the various household’s members.
Reviewing the various domains of consumption (lighting, heating / aeration, food, hygiene, leisure activities / work), for these households, tend to reveal the general logic of their relationship to energy:
- Their relationship to energy bills may result of an utilitarian or dysinformed relationship to energy consumption
- Their lifestyle (between modernity and tradition) may influences housework length of time as well as practices connected to cooking, and reveal different cases of mutualization or outsourcing of energy use
- Tactics of energy consumption are then properly developed, mainly aiming at a saving of time in two key moments of the day, in the morning and in the evening, periods of stronger energy consumption. By developing these tactics, they reduce these consumptions which otherwise would be more important.
- Resources and position in the life cycle of this household also determine their home’s appropriation and the organization of their inhabited spaces, aiming to turn their home comfortable.
The determining variables of the various modes of energy consumption allow to understand that if energy consumption always comes as a medium of the inhabitant’s expression of an identity, energy allows above all the implementation of the spatial comfort and regulates intimacy’s issues.
These conclusions allow to seize the importance of the housing architectural plan’s design which suggests, allows and impose a certain type of inhabitant practices, and consequences that adequacies or inadequacies can have on the practices of energy consumption. Inhabitants actions and reactions at various stages of their life cycle, according to their revenues, to their residential capital and to equipments which they have at their disposal allow to illustrate a panel of diverse situations.

KEY WORDS: co-ownership, behaviours, energy consumption, ethnographic observation research.

The evening meal and electric peak demand in France : linking daily practices and energy consumption through the use of time use surveys.


Pricing and technological measures are regularly designed to encourage consumers not to consume during time of peak electricity demand. Usually, only the average outcome of these measures are assessed, keeping the diversity of the underlying everyday practices hidden. We offer to study these practices, their meanings and associated constraints so as to understand how they can change.
This work focuses on the analysis of the daily peak through the activities related to the evening meal, which plays a central rôle in the household daily planning and energy conumption. The methodological challenge is also to produce a quantitative analysis of the complexity of energy consumption underlying practices.
Different types of meals have been described based on the quantitative data collected in the French Time Use Surveys, in terms of time, participants, places, and appliances. Surrounding activities allowed to specify the meanings and constraints attached to each type of meal. Knowing when appliances are used as part of specific practices make it possible to envision how these practices could change and affect peak demand, whether the result of pricing measures or of more likely deeper social evolutions.

KEY WORDS: peak, electricity, meal, time use, demand.

Recomposition of energy practices in the life course.
Context of sustainable neighborhoods analysis.

Taoufik SOUAMI (French Institute of Urbanism ; École des Ponts ParisTech/LATTS)

In this article, we discuss the energy transition at the level of local social groups (individuals, households, neighborhood networks …). Our hypothesis is that the change also operates a set of micro-transitions. These micro-transitions play in individuals both consumers inhabitants, local users are members of social groups close … The article is based on a fine for this investigation in two ecovillages in France. The analysis confirms the lack of a physical or sociological determinism explaining energy behavior, whether sober or not. Materials that are produced by reducing the action of the people to ensure their correct operation transformations of energy footprints, fail to achieve objectives. The standard profiles proposed to explain behavior by socio-economic conditions of the people are not enlightening.
A procedural reading seems more relevant and operational. It reveals that the practices of individuals and neighborhood groups are blended in different contexts, technical and spatial configurations but also life course, that is to say, past experiences and life plans of individuals and households. Recent past in an apartment “sieve” is going to bring attention to the insulation. An old family practice saving electricity can be reset during the installation needs housing. Thus viewed, we can better examine what changes the practices and guide their transformations. In this configuration analysis, we can better understand how the transformation trajectories fit or not in an energy transition.
Two aspects still appear somewhat considered significant. The people take initiatives that go beyond the local supply, to find their organization of the “economy” of energy in their living. Social groups emerge to provide common benchmarks in the restructuring practice. Micro-transitions by the composition of practices would be constructed as well as by individual initiatives overflowing institutional offer, as territorialized social groups.

KEY WORDS: practice, consumption, life course transitions, eco-neighborhoods.

A Social Capital Basis for Reducing Household Energy Consumption.

Thomas MACIAS (University of Vermont)

The primary objective of my research is, through the use of a regional mail survey, to capture the social context of energy conservation. Specifically, my work on this project is motivated by two central questions. First, how do people’s social connections to others, at home and in their local community affect their disposition towards energy conservation? And second, across a variety of network and socioeconomic contexts, what specific practices in the household and in transportation are people most likely to adhere to which would contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?
Initial results are promising: I attained a 43 percent response rate from the 600 questionnaires mailed out in February 2014. A preliminary analysis shows that people in Chittenden County, Vermont are clearly concerned about issues of sustainability and positive attitudes towards this theme correlate with education, liberal political views and trust in government. Regarding one of our key measures of social capital – participation in “online neighborhood forums” – there were strong positive correlations with sustainable practices such as recycling, purchasing local food when available and, interestingly, taking shorter showers (water conservation). Regular face-to-face interaction with friends was associated with support for climate change policy and the consumption of locally produced food; and attendance at public meetings correlated with a willingness to drive less.
In sum, there appear to be significant correlations in the survey between measures of place-based social networks and measures of environmental concern and sustainable practices. Policies which foster social interactions at the community level through online forums, neighborhood organizations or local opportunities to volunteer may prove in the long run to be at least as important to addressing environmental crisis as social marketing aimed at promoting household efficiency improvements.

KEY WORDS: energy consumption, environmental concern, social capital, survey research, sustainable practices.

Socio-anthropological view of the resistance of Cameroonian populations in the adoption of so-called alternative energies.

Edmond VII MBALLA ELANGA (University of Douala)

Energy security and environmental protection are of concern to the government of Cameroon. To this end, the government has launched programs to improve and increase the supply of energy by exploiting new sources and sustainable energy alternatives say this in order to protect the environment while continuing to provide people access to energy. However, some of these programs are not always welcomed by the people. This communication therefore initiates work to highlight the concerns of people in parts of Cameroon to adopt the so-called alternative energy: biomass produced by human and animal excreta.
The use of human or animal waste for the production of energy is a psychological barrier for many people in Cameroon. In fact, people believe that the energy generated by human or animal waste can contaminate food. For these people, this energy is far from being a clean, otherwise energy. These people believe that the promotion of so-called alternative energy is likely to deconstruct their lifestyles. Fire wood for example, plays a central role in people’s lives; it is therefore not only used to cook food. It carries in fact a set of practices and ways of living. In the forest zone of southern Cameroon large, the use of wood as an energy source is an ancient practice: “We have always used wood as an energy source, wood is abundant in our forests. We are asked to adopt the consumption patterns of energy that will continue to enrich the men of the city, “said a villager Nkol-Nsoh. For many interviewees, the smoke is a cooking ingredient. Puts a fire made of wood does not have the same flavor that puts fire is gas or biomass.
This raises the issue of the adoption of new forms of energy. They are not adapted to the socio-cultural environment of the people. The adoption patterns called alternative energy is likely to disrupt the lifestyles of people and a set of social representations that they have in society, food, environment, etc. The promotion of alternative energies, when not tak ing into account aspects other than those related to energy, meeting the resistance of populations, the use of an energy source is to a certain extent, a fact total social.

KEY WORDS: socio-anthropological aegard, alternative energy, population strength, Cameroon.

The energy transition through the prism of “logics of action”: diversity and dynamics of appropriation.


Many technical devices, pioneer projects and experiments are nowadays positioned to contribute to an energy transition. They are defined as innovations, not only in their technical development, but also as incentives to “behaviour change”. However, social sciences show that this energy transition does not appear as unified and consistent as the public discourse claims (Shove, 2010 ; Zelem, 2010 ) because of the contradictory forces of energy policies and regimes (Geels, 2014 ). We will show that these ambiguities are due to the varying degrees and forms of appropriations of devices and to their limited ability of modifying practices and energy consumption that are embedded in systems of consumption.
At the junction of the sociology of innovation (Gaglio, 2011 ) and of the consumption and use (Desjeux, 1996 , Henning, 2005 ), we propose to develop the concept of “logic of action” to understand the diversity of the forms and degrees of appropriation. Social groups (households, employees, etc.) develop “logics of action” that link together different practices of everyday life, centred on a life project that is putted to the test of the economic, physical, social and symbolic constraints and resources and gradually embedded in routines and reflexive moments.
Our analysis is based on a multi-site and multi-sector ethnography: studying the dynamic pricing in the context of smart grids demonstrators in the residential sector, analysing the deployment of electric vehicles among pioneer households and observing the daily life into energy-efficient commercial and public buildings (offices and schools). The comparative analysis of this fieldwork has highlighted the relations and tensions between devices as they are designed and the social practices. In particular, we will show that the prism of “logics of action” diffracts the injunction to behaviour change into diverse ways of appropriating, engaging in pioneer projects and defining the user’s figure.

KEY WORDS: logics of action, dynamics of consumption, electric vehicles, dynamic pricing, energy-efficient commercial and public buildings.

Norms, emotions and social practices: conceptual and methodological considerations towards reduced household electricity consumption.

Béatrice BERTHO (University of Lausanne/ Faculty of Geosciences and Environment/Industrial ecology group)
Marlyne SAHAKIAN (University of Lausanne/ Faculty of Geosciences and Environment/Industrial ecology group)
Suren ERKMAN (University of Lausanne/ Faculty of Geosciences and Environment/Industrial ecology group)

This paper applies social practice theory to understanding how household electricity consumption might be decreased or rendered more efficient, as part of a research project underway in Geneva and Lausanne (Western Switzerland). We will discuss our theoretical framework and research design, highlighting the challenge of uncovering norms and values associated with everyday practices. Norms and values seem to be converging around the world, related to keeping clean (Shove 2003) or being comfortable indoors (Shove, Chappells et al. 2008; Sahakian 2014). Norms around indoor heating, for example, have changed dramatically in the past decades (by an increase of approximately ten degrees in France for example, see Dreyfus 1990). However, there is very little public discussion around what constitutes a healthy indoor climate – and how indoor climate might be made less dependent on artificial cooling and heating (with the Cool Biz campaign in Japan as a notable exception, see Shove, Pantzar et al. 2012). Wilk (2002) suggests that social rules can be brought out into public debate, resulting in a reaffirmation of the norm or its contestation (as was the case in Japan). While contesting social rules and values that are tacitly accepted will not necessarily lead to a ‘breaking down’ of the elements that hold together a practice (Shove 2012: 109), the possibility of further theorizing this aspect of social practices may be valuable to researchers and policy-makers. Such an approach has proven relevant in relation to select examples in food and beverage consumption (Sahakian and Wilhite 2014). In this paper, we discuss the importance of norms and values in both theory and practice then make some suggestions on how to uncover norms through empirical research. Here, we raise the limits of certain research methods, which validate the value-action gap or attitude-behaviour gap, whereby ‘consumers’ may express certain pro-environmental beliefs or attitudes, which do not always translate into actual actions and practices (Blake 1999, Kollmuss and Agyeman 2002; Shove 2010), as attitudes and perceptions are only proxies for actual behaviour (Barr and Prillwitz in Fahy and Rau 2013). A Dutch study points to the importance of the practice approach in studying actions, rather than beliefs of attitudes, as much of household electricity consumption is tied to everyday life and related practices (Jensen 2008). We suggest ethnographic methods, based on in-depth interviews and observations, and an understanding of electricity consumption as tied up with everyday practices – particularly overlapping practices. The challenge of distinguishing implicit from explicit norms and values, however, remains an open issue, which we hope to further discuss.

KEY WORDS: social practice theory, households, Switzerland, electricity, norms, values.

Co-housing: a change of roles?

Lidewij TUMMERS (Faculty of Architecture and the Build Environment)

Co-housing is an emerging trend in Europe, raising interest as innovator of housing and sustainable environmental technology. Co-housing residents are receptive to innovations in renewable energies and apply ecological materials as well as waste- and water recycling together with alternative forms of management. Through co-housing practices residents move from being ‘consumer’ to ‘(co-) producers’, of housing, care, energy, services and so on. Nevertheless, the value and contribution of co-housing initiatives to housing provision and sustainable urban development, both quantitative and qualitatively, have hardly been assessed.
The second shift in roles that potentially takes place in co-housing projects is the breaking with gender stereotypes. Some studies found that this is one reason why there is large interest in co-housing amongst women. Other studies point at the alleviation of domestic work. However, in how far this leads to a fundamental improvement of equality has not been established.
This contribution relates the ecological orientations of co-housing initiatives to research on the emancipatory dynamic of co-housing. The paper explores how this relation is operational directly, for example in the design, management and maintenance of project technology such as water purification and solar panels. The paper also looks at indirect relations such as energy calculation models that depart from standard patterns of use and distribution of rooms, to which the co-housing cluster may not fit. For example, the orientation on complex installations for heating and ventilation systems, such as the passive house model, sustainable technology will be criticized for ignoring aspects of culture and use, including gender stereotyping.
The chapter is based on recent research on co-housing in EU member states as well as field studies in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

KEY WORDS: self-managed co-housing, renewable energies, energy transition, Fair Share City.


Adopting of the follow-up energy consumption and its efficiency conditions on inhabitants practices.

Gaëtan BRISEPIERRE (Freelance sociologist/GBS)

Public authorities decided the generalization in every french home the use of communicating meters for electricity and gas before 2020. These investments will be paid back by a tax added to energy bill and are very often justified by the alleged ability of the meters to produce energy savings. In other words they rely on the hypothesis according to which the consumer information improvement through the follow-up will incite him to adopt thriftier behavior.
This communication aims at denying this claim by showing that information is efficient only as part of a more global plan of accompaniment to change. It relies on four fields surveys made with the actors of energy mastering sensibilisation campaign including the concept of individualised and up to date energy consumption follow up. First, system put by social lessors following the moving in a new LCB (low consumption building) or the putting up consumption TV displaying system ; second the help of Familles à Energie Positive in two french districts.
On one hand we will show that information doesn’t exist in itself, it is circulated through systems which must be fully understood by actors. The interest show by the dwellers for consumption data remains very restricted . This lack of interest is partly a result of starting in disheartening system. These data look like a possible condition of new sensibilisation system brought forward by local powers. They are both the financing medium of these campaign and also the establishment of new relations with the people concerned. Moreover, the adding up of these data allow to foresee new action possibilities of energy mastering for the housing project or an area.
On the other hand, we will show that the consumption following up services can only end up in behavior changes lasting on condition only they are part of three levers system : cognitive, material, social. First the appropriation of gross consumption data is very relative, they become meaningful when they are associated witch concrete learning about means of action as well as a social enhancing of thrifty behavior. Second, the material dimension of all the objects which contribute to hold up effort of transforming daily routines as well as enrolment in a long term action aiming at the building conversion. At last, all the relational dynamics which takes place among families, between participants in the same campaign and with actors finally end up in the metamorphis of pratices in the long run.

KEY WORDS: campaign awareness, behaviour changes, smart grids / smart Meters, consumption follow up, accompaniment.

Living in Low Energy labelised housing: a socio-eco-technical analysis.

Jean CARASSUS (École des Ponts ParisTech)
Chantal LAUMONIER (freelance sociologist)
Bernard SESOLIS (Tribu Energie)
Damien JANVIER (Tribu Energie)
Rémi WRONA (Tribu Energie)

This study analysed qualitatively six Low Energy labelised homes units. The analysis was performed by combining three dimensions:
- Sociological: depth interviews of 3 households in each of the six homes units,
- Economical: a study of investment and running costs,
- Technical: analysis of technical options, calculation of conventional consumption, measures of actual consumption and comfort, comparison of the two.
1. These homes have no significant dysfunction.
2. Important dispersions were found. Actual consumption may be higher or lower than the label convention. Some total consumptions are lower than those required by the German PassivHaus label convention.
3. Consumption not reaching the label convention are however very efficient.
4. A significant number of households have higher consumption than label convention, sometimes for technical reasons but mostly for behavioural reasons. With a calculation of consumption per person instead of consumption per m², the results are reversed.
5. Measurements of temperature and humidity in summer show that the majority of operations provide satisfactory comfort. However, professionals should take special care in the South of France in summer comfort regarding the building and advice to residents.
6. After a period of learning, investment cost control has improved through better balanced techno-economic choice.
7. The choice of solutions should be first and foremost to simple and robust techniques.
8. Six main behavioural factors influence consumption: the number of people, length of occupation, the level of household electrical equipment and computers, the choice of indoor temperature, ventilation habits, and control of heating and ventilation equipment.
9. Feelings are generally good. Occupants can be classified into three categories: those who know the Low Energy label and try to optimize it, those who do not know the label and use the dwelling as a standard housing, and those who practice “rebound effect” by increasing their comfort at lower cost.
10. Professionals underestimate the importance of information and learning process ot the residents.

KEY WORDS: actual consumption – actual comfort – actual consumption/ conventional consumption gap – lived experience and behavior – impacts of occupants on performance.

Changes of energy consumption practices of social housings in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.

Maya LECLERCQ (AnthropoLinks)

Within the framework of a project performed for social landlords of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, our team is carrying a sociological survey amongst a hundred of households that housing has recently been energy-efficiently rehabilitated. The sociological survey with the tenants consists in collecting some qualitative and quantitative data about people’ use of their housing, using both a questionnaire and a interview guideline. The survey is carried in close relationship with the measurement and analysis of the energy costs.
The survey and the analyses are in progress, nonetheless first results show some marked trends: most of the people consider they have adopted more economical practices in order to reduce their consumption of power and heating over the last years, but very few have adopted new practices just after their housing was rehabilitated (External thermal insulation, renovation of windows and doors and sometimes of the central heating). The measurement and analysis of the energy costs shows that the reduction of expenses billed to the tenants are below the expected results estimated in advance. This first results questions the support of tenants and awareness campaign during and after such major energy-efficiently rehabilitation.

KEY WORDS: energy, fuel poverty, consumption, analysis of the energy costs.

Living in an energy-efficient house : towards the construction of “inhabitant expertise”? Choices and appropriations of technological innovations with respect to lifestyles.

Marie MANGOLD (University of Strasbourg/SAGE)

Sustainable housing, as it is envisaged through current real estate programs, is the result of a socio-political integration of energy considerations. This integration has for instance led to the creation of thermal regulations and the injunction of a need for energy efficiency in new buildings. Transformed and used as a sales pitch, this criterion has generated a new market for energy-efficient housing. Inhabitants are consequently required to choose amongst a complex selection of technological innovations. Tensions might arise, as this new imperative for “proper living” might contrast with the intimacy expected from the personal space that is home. Indeed, inhabitants are no longer incited to adopt a passive attitude towards their energy consumption. As a result, appropriation of technological innovations can vary quite considerably, as it is dependent on the inhabitant’s representations (for e.g. self-regulated indoor air vs. “healthy” outdoor air). As a result, their own “knowledge of living” is put into practice. We will firstly present the framework of real estate evolutions with respect to building energy efficiency and technological innovations offered to inhabitants. We will then focus on how inhabitants make these innovations their own through appropriation. We finally conclude on living choices, amongst which energy efficiency is only one aspect. This communication is based on results from our current qualitative fieldwork which takes place in Alsace and involves participant observation, analysis of documentation on building projects, and fifty-six interviews of which twelve were conducted with builders and architects and fifteen with owners of “green buildings”.

KEY WORDS: technological innovation, energy efficiency, sustainable housing, lifestyles, standardization process.

Occupants as main actors of energy efficiency durability in buildings.

Lauranne MARCEL (Cerema)
Bruno SABATIER (Cerema)

PREBAT is a significant national program funding many energy-efficient buildings,
which Cerema is assessing the performance. Alongside data collection, a
questionnaire was established and given to the occupants, so that the
understanding of energy-efficient buildings could facilitate the interpretation of the
data on technical performances of buildings and systems (heating, ventilation,
energy production), as well as allowing to suggest improvements (conception,
relation with artisans, teaching methods for use of buildings)
These interviews with occupants of energy-efficient buildings highlighted that most
often conditions of use quite differ from what was expected at the time of building
conception : room temperature, ways to achieve comfort during summer, upkeep
of the building’s systems, etc.
We then further interviewed the occupants, supported by qualitative
questionnaires, in order to better understand the various obstacles and levers
inducing good practices which help in getting and keeping the best possible
performances for the building. We have learned from these observations how to
better take into account building’s use starting at the conception so that it is better
suited for its occupants. Many requirements stand out, especially finding solutions
for the difficulties of occupants to take charge of technical equipments, facilitating
systems’ maintenance (for the occupant as well as the building owner), or even
developing a teaching method about daily management of windows.

MOTS CLÉS : performance énergétique, qualité d’usage, occupant, confort, bâtiment.

Survey and definition of household behavioural profiles of energy use in Walloon urban houses.

Stéphane MONFILS (Université de Liege, Belgique)
Jean-Marie HAUGLUSTAINE (Université de Liege, Belgique)

Among other regulations, the European policy for energy consumption and greenhouse gases emission reductions has imposed, in its 2002/91/CE Directive, the certification of an existing building’s energy performance, witnessing its energy consumption and efficiency, when it is sold or rented. That Energy Performance Certification (EPC), calculated with a standardized approach which purposefully (and understandably) gets human factor out of the equations, aims at influencing real-estate market by introducing energy efficiency as a comparative criterion in the search for a dwelling and stimulating energy saving investments.
In order to reach those goals however, human factor becomes crucial: on one hand, efficient solutions (regarding transport, building energy consumptions, water and waste management…) have to be implemented by an intelligent decision-making authority who understands the complexity of the urban context and its impacts on the environment. On the other hand, solutions can only be efficient if users are aware of their consumption and overall impact on the environment. In this context, EPC’s results, in their actual form, do not help raise people awareness: often distant from reality, overestimating the consumption, they usually result is a general misunderstanding and misuse of the document.
This study aims at analysing the energy consumption related behaviours of the Walloon households, in order to model a number of behavioural profiles that will be integrated in the regulatory calculation method. More precisely, the target population is composed of owners of Walloon urban houses which energy performance has been assessed by a theoretical calculation method like the EPC, to allow data assessment and results comparisons with the real consumption.
The expected outcomes would be the creation of a complementary “custom-made” certification, data collection and actuation of the existing buildings stock energy consumption, or the creation of comprehensive benchmarking databases, fundamental for defining strategies on urban / regional / national levels.

KEY WORDS: survey, behaviour, consumption, energy, certification.

Living in energy-efficient buildings: what must residents get used to? Cases study in Lyon-Confluence and Greenwich Millennium Village.

Ludovic MORAND (EHESS Marseille/ Norbert Elias Center)

This presentation is based on empirical results from my PhD research around fieldworks in France and England. The study aims to examine how people living in innovative communities at the forefront of sustainability appropriate such spaces and, in particular, how efficient buildings impact their way of life.
Efficient building tends to establish itself as a disruptive innovation and, as such, creates inevitable difficulties in appropriation that lower the efficiency of the buildings but encourage an intense mobilization of social scientists in order to analyze them.
Due to the fact that social uses have a stronger impact on energy consumption in efficient buildings and because of the ambitious objectives to reduce CO2 emissions on a global level, the expectations that institutions address to users are unprecedented. Many studies in this field are problematized in connection with these goals that appear through the formulation of the research questions.
Such researches draw attention to “gaps” or insufficiencies in relation to a certain vision of the norm, regarding social acceptance, identification of limits and leverages of behavioral change, or misappropriations, skepticisms, and resistances that are typical of the social itinerary of an innovation. On the other hand, the focus on these predictably misfitting patterns gives a confrontational representation of the nature of the relation between users and technology, that verges on incompatibility.
I argue that this incompatibility or maladjustment seems to be over valuated if users experience is considered in a larger scale. If we focus less on the appropriation of specific technical systems or instructions for use and more on the current way of life in a “sustainable context”, we can see how this vision is driven by efficiency goals. Beyond technical problems that appear during trial periods or specific defects in the construction, the evaluations of comfort and convenience in efficient buildings from inhabitants are very positive. “Constraints” on life habits are nearly invisible or are perceived as mere instructions. On the other hand, I observe a paradoxical reversal phenomenon between the level of sensitivity towards environmental or energy issues and effective practices. Whereas the “sustainable context” plays a role in increasing the inhabitants’ perception of environmental and energy stakes, the greater autonomy of technical systems leads inhabitants to pay less attention to their consumption. In this way, we assist on a transfer of responsibility from practices towards technology.

KEY WORDS: sustainable neighborhoods, lifestyles, ownership, efficient building practices.

Green buildings facing the savoir-faire and savoir-vivre: the risk of against-productivity with technical innovations.


The current attempt to widespread habitat efficient energy imposed by the thermal regulation and encouraged by green taxation involves major technical changes in the world of construction. These changes concern both the building envelope (exterior insulation, air sealing, double-flow ventilation, etc.), heating systems (ECS Solar), or the development of eco-techniques housing (ecological floors, etc.). But a major stumbling block appeared in this dynamic: some of these technological developments, supported ideologically by the world of environmental engineering, require professional practices and inhabitants largely offset from the savoir-faire and savoir-vivre in use.
That is why field surveys show a myriad of problems of use, either in the implementation phase, maintenance and ownership by the people. These problems have as main consequence multiply technical malfunctions, and hence contradict the initial promises of the devices, both in terms of energy efficiency and economic relevance. That is why environmental technology innovations, beyond a certain threshold shift with social practices in use not only reproduce what the philosopher Stigler calls prolétarisation des savoirs but also would prove “against-productive” in light of the initial intentions of its promoters.

KEY WORDS: green building, technical innovation, uses, knowledge, against-productivity.

First steps of positive energy buildings in social housing.
Feedback on the receipt of housing by tenants.

Thibault VACHER (University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès/CERTOP)

France has developed an energy-greedy consumption model in particular through its ways of travelling, housing and consumption. The threat of the climate change has made the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a priority for the public action. The recent draft bill on energy transition into a green growth sets a goal of 40% in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To reach this goal a reduction in energy consumption is necessary. In this context and as it represents the 43% of the final energy consumption, the building sector appears to be a priority to achieve energy savings.
Since the 1st of January 2013, the 2012 thermic regulation (RT 2012) stands out as one of the instruments of energy efficiency policies. New buildings should be “low consumption” (BBC model) and have to reach regulatory requirements related to their energy efficiency. From 2020 a new regulatory instrument (RT 2020) will require that all new buildings will be on positive energy (BEPOS model), meaning that buildings are supposed to produce more energy than what they consume.
In the social housing sector, politicals, economics, socials and environmentals issues related to energy consumption have led social lessors to engage heavily in construction projects of low energy consumption housing and sometimes of positive energy buildings. However, these new buildings rarely reach the expected levels of energy performance. The actual energy consumption is regularly superior than regulatory requirements. Household behaviours are pointed to explain the measured overconsumption. Faced with this hypothesis, social lessors have turned to support accompanying measures. The ambition of such operations is to change energy consumption behaviours by informing, educating and encouraging households with the aim to reducing energy consumption and controlling charges.
This communication proposal falls within the scope of a doctoral thesis, mainly based on two sites – the first in Midi-Pyrénées region and the second in Languedoc-Roussillon region. These sites are two operations of new constructions of social housing with positive energy buildings, winners of regional projects calls. A total of 57 housings, individuals and collectives, were delivered in the fourth quarter of 2013. Some months after the arrival of the first households, we conducted a sociological study based on observations and semi-structured interviews. We visited the home of nearly thirty households and methodology of our research plans to meet them again after one year of occupation.
The aim is to provide a feedback on households’ housing reception. We will particularly focus on households’ feelings, perceptions and representations and show the difference between what social lessors promise and the reality experienced by tenants.

KEY WORDS: thermic regulation, positive energy building, social housing, energy consumption, accompanying measure.


User’s feedback on low consumption housing.

Lauréna CAZEAUX (Abor&sens ; éco-BET)
Marine MORAIN (Abor&sens ; éco-BET)
Gilles DESEVEDAVY (Abor&sens ; éco-BET)

Based on the knowledge of projects drawn and built by the architectural office and scientific environment, we developed a field feedback process linked with our architect and engineer practice backward instrumentation measures. We base our approach on observation in situ the daily life in buildings which form and materials come from designers (not from users).
Meeting inhabitants in their home is the starting point of our work carried out low consumption social housing. For this research, the method used consist in both dynamic thermal simulation of the building and interviews. Making relationship between those disciplines, usually distinct led us to conclude that behavior hypothesis employed to design is far from reality, and physicals responses are far from predictions.
Non thermal stresses are decisive for operating windows in summer and generally to deal with summer comfort. Those stresses are not taken into account in thermal simulations.
When half the people we met in a low consumption social housing have bought an extra climate control device, they spend as much energy during summer as they saved during winter. Bioclimatic design seems to be useless in this case.
Architects need to take charge of technique and use it with efficiency instead of performance in order to improve practice and result. Soft-Tech architecture concept revisits this question.
Without identifying a unique answer, the purpose is to move toward non-traumatic technique for users, that is to say a building without instructions where inhabitant can deal easily with building complexity. The goal is to avoid transforming building occupant in an technical expert and adapt building to life, especially in housing which is the main place of privacy.

KEY WORDS: model, thermal comfort, survey, soft-tech, housing.

Energy leader and innovation process in co-ownership.

Stéphane CHEVRIER (MANA ; Rennes 2 University /CIAPHS ; ENSAB ; IAUR)

The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the innovation process for co-ownership associations in builings or condominiums.
Our survey has focused on two condominiums built in the 60′s and 70′s located in Rennes. The study used ethnographic survey techniques and framework analysis of the ‘ Actor Network Theory ‘ . The co-ownership associations looked at the possibility of selling the building rights to raise the height of their buildings in order to finance the upgrading of the property and other ambitious projects of energy improvements. This study is part of a survey conducted by the ‘ Agence Nationale de l’Habitat ‘ and carried out as part of a research programme ‘ Energy Improvement in Apartment Blocks or Condominiums ‘ run by the PUCA ( Plan Urbanisme Construction Architecture ) .
Firstly our aim is to analyse the role of the ‘energy leaders’ in a process of profit sharing , unlike the towns of Lyon or Grenoble marked by the under representation of the local communities.
Secondly , our aim is to observe the creation of the intermediate and boundary objects , study their composition and follow their trajectories ( slide shows, specifications, newsletters, plans, scale models , etc ) which contribute to the dialogue between the social groups and the ‘ communities of practice ‘ leading to a socio-technical entity to carry the project forward.
The quality and well-timed introduction of these objects to the innovation process contribute to the building of confidence and lead to the success of such a project. But what role do the energy leaders play in the production of these objects and in the management of innovation ? Which partners should they bring together ?
Should the condominium itself , seen as a technical and legal reality, be considered as a boundary object joining different worlds and communities of practice – ( energy , construction, town planning, real estate ) . Can the condominium as a sociological reality be considered as a community of practice ? Or is it the dynamic building process of the project itself , with its hardships and controversies throughout the production of these objects that gradually contribute to the emergence of a community ? In this way the success of the project would be indissociable of a community that would allow the homeowners association to exist beyond its legal framework.

Key words: co-ownership, innovation, renovation, energy leader, boundary object.

Ecofriendly housing and binding communication: what kind of alliance is possible ?

Emmanuel DELAITE (University of Franche-Comté ; University of Aix-Marseille/IRSIC)

Our research aims to demonstrate that sustainable housing is an experiments and innovations laboratory in favour of sustainable development.
In this sense, it is accelerating solutions and it is serving as a force for positive change. In fact sustainable housing is a privileged space where challenges of the energy transition can materialize. Sustainable housing is questionning: how do we want to live in our responsible housing and around it? This private space is not studied, thought, and developed enough to optimize living conditions of residents. It should bring pro-environmental answers that involve people directly. Regular housing is often built by forgetting relationship with time and outside space in which it operates. Interdependencies between responsible housing and ecological urban environment are very clearly defined in this paper to develop new formulas of systemic and participatory ecological actions.

KEY WORDS: ecofriendly housing, binding communication, experiments and innovations laboratory, ecological urban environment, junction.

Successful energy rehabilitation: key factors for a good perception of its occupants.


The RCP global design agency, as part of its design activity, accompanies the anthropocentric approach, serving engineers in charge of the definition of energy rehabilitation projects.
It is within this context that the agency is a partner in the TIPEE project together with the University of La Rochelle. In this collaborative project, the agency has studied the user perception by exploring a building renovated in 2007, and which is an energy success story, and very well accepted and perceived by its occupants, through efficient technical solutions and a clever change management.
RCP studied the user’s integration during the design process and the feedback after 6 years of use. The results of this study extract the key factors for a good perception of a successful energy rehabilitation and the recommendations to facilitate “the proper use of renovated buildings” by its occupants.

KEY WORDS: perception, energy rehabilitation, occupant, recommendations, use.

Exploratory Study of IMAGINARY AND USES in housing disconnected from power grids.

Xavier GAUVIN (Bouygues/Ideas Lab)

As part of his research, Bouygues Construction is working on the idea of ‘autonomous buildings’, that is to say disconnected construction from power grids and water,
The name of the ABC project : “Autonomous Buildding for Citizen”.
More concretely, a partnership between the City of Grenoble and Bouygues Construction was signed January 22, 2014 for the “Development of a demonstrator in Grenoble” that will concern a building of 70 rental units.
Many returns of experiences, including those of Zac de Bonne (eco-neighborhood of Grenoble), have demonstrated the important part of the behavior of the inhabitants in the results in terms of environmental, energy and economic performance. So, it is essential to study with the possible future residents, the consequences in terms of uses in everyday life, about the different technical or economic choices.
Already, studies are conducted to measure the acceptability of certain technologies to better design solutions to future occupants and with whom they can interact.
In parallel with this work, it is also necessary to define the operating rules adapted to this context and acceptable for the future community of inhabitants (rules, life charter resident) and economic conditions (willing to pay, contract …).
During 2013, around Grenoble, an experiment simulates 10 homes disconnected from power grid. Energy resource is limited to a solar photovoltaic production and storage battery which requires for people to adjust the power consumption.
Main goals :
- Explorer management of electricity consumption in collective housing in limited resource Imaginary and Practices
- Characterize innovative device :
Energy Resources Management Interface
Set of necessary devices and services
- Acceptability and attractiveness.

KEY WORDS: User Centered Innovation, housing, autonomous building, practices, energy consumption, acceptability, living-lab.

« I am a bit of a handyman! »: when homeowners building cultures face political demands in rammed earth houses retrofitting.

Léa GENIS (Superior National School of Architecture of Grenoble /CRAterre-ENSAG/AE& CC)

Anthropology of rural spaces frequently deals with vernacular house considering the heritage construction processes induced by retrofitting. Emerging approaches based on sociology of energy have however seldom be used. In such a context, the paper aims at demonstrating how heritage and home energy retrofit requirements and homeowners technical practices articulate towards the stakes of ancient houses.
The research is based on a socio-anthropological field work on rammed earth houses retrofitting. It was implemented in Nord Isère region with the contribution of advisory structures and local authorities. After the analysis of homeowners-guided visits of homes under work or already retrofitted, the paper describes the “bricolage” implemented by the inhabitants in the retrofitting process. When applied to ancient houses, they appear to be involved in a sociotechnical project based not only on energy but on the houses and households features, temporality, livability or aesthetics. They seem to lead to the constitution of distinctive “homeowner’s knowledge”. Thus, the analysis expands to include adjustment in advisors and craftsmen professional practices toward existing or implied norms, considering those norms fit hardly with the variety of ancient houses materials and structures. Through these adjustments, professionals can operate alternatively as mediators, specialists, advisors or trainers in their interactions with the inhabitants.
Research results finally show the emergence of new means of cooperation between inhabitants and professionals. It questions the knowledge dynamics involved in the development of energetic innovations linked to vernacular houses retrofitting.

KEY WORDS: local knowledge, energy retrofitting, vernacular houses, rammed earth, do-it-yourself.

The construction of the expertise in energy by the “self-refurbishers” in rural areas.

Ignacio REQUENA-RUIZ (ENSA/CERMA/Architectural and urban environments)

Céline DROZD (ENSA/CERMA/ Architectural and urban environments)
Kévin MAHE (ENSA/CERMA/Architectural and urban environments)
Daniel SIRET (ENSA/CERMA/Architectural and urban environments)

As a result of the changing criteria of comfort and the new social projections on the own house’s energy efficiency, the field of building practices directly managed by inhabitants appears to be in continuous growth. In comparison with the dwellings construction and the housing energy refurbishment, which are subjects of many studies and proposals, these practices remain little studied.
Nowadays, our team conducts a research focused on housing self-refurbishment, an inhabitant practice that gathers together activities arising from the pragmatic sphere of housing (from maintenance to self-building) and the personal dimension of the own home construction (from DIY to interior design). In particular, we seek to understand the role of energy among all the criteria that build the expertise of “self-refurbishers”.
This communication will present the results of a research supported on the analyses of the “self-refurbishers” strategies to deal with the energy issues in the construction of the own home. A total of 11 self-refurbishment projects in different states are studied. The research reveals how the inhabitants create a personal network, which can be composed of both amateur and professional actors, in order to exchange knowledge and skills.
The research method is based on the study of the inhabitant’s story about the different phases of the expertise construction and the advancement of their renewal works. The survey is conducted by semi-directive interviews where the inhabitants’ speech is triggered in three phases: the narration of their memories of works, the explained visit of the house and the detailed story arising from personal documentation (photos, invoices, sketches, drawings, etc.). The story, moreover, enhances different stages dealt by inhabitants: the project conception as well as early enquiries and choices, the techniques learning and the issues of the mise-en-œuvre, the house’s systems management, and the house maintenance or systems renewal.

KEY WORDS: self-refurbishment; expertise in energy; inhabitants’ practices; energy management.

Optimisation des Usages Energétiques et Sociaux d’un îlot Tertiaire à l’horizon 2020.

Thomas ROILLET (National School of Arts and Crafts in Lille/L2EP)
Céline DROZD (ENSA/CERMA/Architectural and urban environments)
Hervé BARRY (Catholic University of Lille/CRESGE)

The current project looks at the management of the thermal energy from the Pasteur Campus (a 50,000 m2 block of offices and laboratories for 1,000 people) by integrating cogeneration or tri-generation machines combined with storing heat and cold. The aim is to develop a multi-source power plant supervisor based on predictive control techniques, with the original feature of integrating usage parameters (known from service meetings and a survey using a questionnaire) into the management of these innovative devices. Energy issues currently concern only the organisation managers to whom the bills are sent based on a single allocation formula (area, manpower, etc.). No information or awareness-raising approach is aimed at any individual energy “consumers”. The aim of the research action is therefore to extend the targets of the various interlocutors on the campus (cf. altering usage logic) so that they match those of the supervision agents, contributing to better results (securing production, reducing costs in the broad sense, etc.).

KEY WORDS: energy, economy, usage, greenhouse gas impact, tertiary planning unit .

Users expertise as a core concept in energy transition processes.


Rental housing , property housing, business premises and offices are spaces with different ways of appropriation, but acquired or most often used practices for energy consumption in some of them may have an impact on what will be developed in others. Nevertheless, the behavior of users is not only influenced by the premises in which they live or work, it cannot be only influenced either by technical aspects, general facilities to be used or architectural forms. They must as well be matched by behaviors that often need to be shaken, but that cannot be induced by force, so as to develop into more “virtue” in respect of challenges for the conservation of resources. We should not forget either the diversity of the ways of living, of cultural behaviors and of the social and economical characteristics of individuals.
Since the end of the 1990s, great progress, technical and architectural, has been made to foster, in new buildings and in renovation, a more effective reduction of energy consumption and expenditures. And indeed, the main “ left aside” in the forced dynamics of what can be called an necessary energetic revolution is precisely the user.
Yes, the user is left aside as actor and designer of these living spaces and too often considered as a target for new products which, since more efficient and less polluting , should be naturally adopted, regardless of social, economical and cultural diversity.
As for living in new HQE or low consumption buildings, it seems that their characteristics for users do not always match expectations.
So what about the relevance of designs giving a priority to the technique? There is a necessity here to ask the user about his practice, and farther to include him in the very design of premises he is or will be using, not as a simple consumer, but as an expert.
The concept of users expertise expresses the fact that users, present or future, of a building have a core position in the process of elaboration and follow up of the project, as well as the client and the prime contractor who executes the work. And we should keep in mind here that the role of the client or developer can be the same as users expertise.
So what is proposed here is a change or culture in the very process of building, a necessary cultural change for the development of ways of living together with buildings.
The introduction of users expertise does not target only the appropriation of innovations. It is first of all a new way of designing and building buildings which agrees to debate the technique and accompany the necessary knowledge changes for the residents and for all the actors and partners of the project.
We shall deal with this problem through examples of association of these three main actors in the process of designing of buildings: installation of the head quarters of the Geat Site Sainte Victoire, in the department Bouches du Rhône, and the Mascobado project in Montpellier in which two groups of citizens, sharing such values as solidarity, friendliness and respect of the environment, develop together a project of participatory housing.

KEY WORDS: users expertise, culture of energy, collaborative approach

The pollution caused by the energy transition: the case of thermal insulation.

Dominique THEILE (chercheur conseil indépendant)

Following the call of the Abbé Pierre in 1954, France experienced almost two decades of unprecedented efforts to build. Build and design concepts of this era are now so discredited that some buildings are demolished. Similarly, replacement of windows, which is the most successful cross-injunctions ADEME, the Treasury, and marketing strategies of manufacturers and installers of windows, generates perverse effects like condensations causing damage to the frame, discomfort (hydrothermal, visual, olfactory …) and impacts on health (allergies, asthma …) whose magnitude remains to be established..
The purpose of this film is to anticipate risks of energy transition, and therefore the reviews of tomorrow on the choices made today. The assumption is that the thermal insulation generate particulate pollution during their manufacture, their lives in the building envelope, their end of life, their implementation in waste and recycling. This particle release is not treated because it is furtive. Yet the strengthening of regulatory requirements for the construction and renovation of buildings results in not only a significant thickening layers of thermal insulation but also by a change in technical culture: substitution of inside thermal insulation by outside thermal insulation. The probability of a significant worsening of this furtive pollution seem high.
To test this hypothesis we must first verify the existence of this pollution, before turning to its potential impacts and ways to prevent pollution. The film thus presents the first results of this audit: photographic evidence of the release of particles about ten yards. Although all in Ile de France, these sites can be seen as reflecting not the exception but the rule, confirmed by a detour through Germany..
In doing so, this film explores a form of difference between the practices of sites and practices of factories. Is it necessary to reduce these discrepancies? Beyond the question of quantification of impacts, there is the issue of dynamic definitions of priorities in change orders.

KEY WORDS: organization of work, thermal insulation, environment, health, priorities in change.