A household’s energy behaviour consists of several processes and interactions as well as it involve the decisions and functions of several entities. A household constitutes a technical infrastructure where people live, meet, and shape their identities in different ways. This study aims to open the black box energy behaviour and highlight different aspects and entities that influence and shape the way households use energy sources. A household’s energy behaviour is defined by different material and socio-economic objectives/aspects. These objectives often conflict with each other in terms of economic resources, political prioritisations, and technical potentials. For example, the implementation of environmental-friendly provisions in a household implies often costs and distribution of priorities. The most suitable method for highlighting and conceptualising the relationship between energy behaviour and different actors’ engagement is to study the development and construction of infrastructures (such as houses, apartment buildings etc), since infrastructures comprise the complexity of the modern society.
The aim of this study is to reconstruct and follow the process of designing and implementing a construction project, namely Colonia – the new student dorms at the university of Linköping, through the lenses of household’s energy behaviour. Particularly, we aim to investigate how the interaction among different entities, such as constructors, owners, users, ventilators, heaters, climate etc, co-produces energy behavior in the context of residential student buildings and standardizes ways of construction as well as patterns of consumption. In doing so, we intend to reconstruct the households’ everyday experiences/patterns as well as to follow construction and owning practices: How does a household conceptualize its own energy use? What kind of actors influences energy use? How material and natural aspects affect the construction process and the production of behavioural patterns of energy use? How do experts and constructors interact with the built environment? What negotiations take place between actors in the process of configuring a specific construction project regarding energy use and how these negotiations materialize in the context of the project, in terms of efficient energy behaviour/use?
The study treats energy behavior as a hybrid collective (Callon & Law, 1995. ”Agency and the Hybrid Collectif”). Our aim is to follow and reconstruct relations between the components of the collectif. It is the relations and their heterogeneity that are important in this context. The project will attempt to illustrate how everyday choices, experiences and interactions with other actors regarding the energy equipment of a household define the energy identity and behaviour of its members. In other words, to study the processes through which the design and construction of a house regarding electricity, heat, ventilation, water, drain system etc provides evidence concerning the materialisation of energy patterns within a household on an everyday basis.