Rethinking Energy Demand is a collaborative project.


Deliberative focus groups kindly sponsored by DevonNorse.


Collaborative in design, this project seeks to:

  1. collectively develop understanding and insights into the social, technical and cultural factors shaping internal workplace energy demand problems
  2. co-create new strategies for local authorities (LAs) to reduce energy demand whilst ensuring workplace comfort.

The project will run from January to December 2017 and will be conducted in three principal phases:

Phase 1: Understanding current practice and challenges

To better understand local authorities’ current energy demand challenges and approaches to on-site demand reduction a brief survey will be distributed to local authorities in the southwest. The data collected will be used to form a baseline of activity and understanding.

Phase 2: Deliberative focus groups

Six focus groups will be held with Devon County Council employees to explore their opinions on different aspects of the workplace environment such as room temperatures, lighting or office layout: what makes an office comfortable or uncomfortable? How has this changed over time? How could offices change in the future? The focus groups will also explore practical individual and collective strategies to manage the work environment in ways that ensure comfort and reduce energy demand.

The focus groups will also be designed to explore key concepts, principles and strategies developed in relation to domestic demand reduction, to better understand their application in organisational settings, and to ensure strategies proposed are a good ‘fit’ with LA workplace contexts.

Phase 3: Translation seminars

Taking inputs from phases 1 and 2 a series of short translation seminars will be held between DCC and University of Exeter staff, as well as energy managers from other southwest local authorities. Early seminars will be used to collectively interrogate prior outputs for new insights, whilst also seeking to generate new strategies for energy demand reduction. Latter seminars will explicitly seek to develop and refine a novel tool that provides challenges, ideas and critical insights to promote innovate organisational responses to a series of problems associated with demand reduction.