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Publication - Professor Dale Southerton

    Beyond acquisition

    Exploring energy consumption through the appreciation and appropriation of domestic lighting in the UK


    Monreal, AC, McMeekin, A & Southerton, D, 2016, ‘Beyond acquisition: Exploring energy consumption through the appreciation and appropriation of domestic lighting in the UK’. Sustainable Production and Consumption, vol 7., pp. 37-48


    A combination of energy efficiency improvements through bulb innovation and the strengthening of government policies that have encouraged the acquisition of low-energy bulbs have contributed to moderate energy consumption reductions in the UK domestic lighting sector. The story of this transition is often presented as a success of sustainability initiatives, even though the rate of this transition has been slow and the limitations of the dominant framing (market-led initiatives) have been consistently questioned. By analysing contemporary usages of lighting this article presents two additional analytical frames beyond 'acquisition' to explore domestic lighting and explain its consumption. Using new data from a survey (N= 1458) focusing on domestic lighting, the paper considers how bulbs and lighting set-ups are 'appreciated' explaining, in turn, why energy-efficient bulbs have diffused slowly and why, in some instances, households are adopting more energy-intensive lighting systems. The paper considers how and why light is 'appropriated' within everyday domestic practises and how these practises demand different types of lighting. It is argued that rooms where multiple practises are performed require multiple light points to cope with varying lighting demands. In conclusion it is argued that multiple changes in domestic lighting have occurred in relation to the qualities of light that are appreciated through the performance of everyday practises into which that light is appropriated, and that policies focused on purchasing and product innovation capture only two aspects of lighting dynamics.

    Full details in the University publications repository