Governing energy in organisations: Energy management professionals, marginalised practices, and the limits to change

Royston, Sarah, Selby, Jan and Kesidou, Sofia (2021) Governing energy in organisations: Energy management professionals, marginalised practices, and the limits to change. Environmental Policy and Governance, 31 (1). pp. 60-75. ISSN 1756-9338

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Organisations and institutions of many kinds play important roles in maintaining and transforming energy systems, not least through their direct contributions to energy demand. Major service‐providing institutions such as universities and hospitals have especially large and complex demands. Facing pressures to reduce environmental impacts and costs, many of these organisations are trying to reduce their energy consumption—with varying degrees of success. The responsibility for pursuing this goal in practice often lies with practitioners here referred to as Energy Management Professionals (EMPs). However, there has been little systematic investigation of EMPs' practices and their energy implications. Using qualitative evidence from English universities and hospitals, we argue that three types of work are marginalised in EMPs' practices, namely: (a) change‐focused work, and within that; (b) work engaging with people and what they do, and within that; (c) work engaging with institutional policy‐making. We argue that these marginalisations limit the scale and scope of demand reduction efforts, and also show how they arise from interacting dynamics of national policies and priorities, institutional structures and professional practices, and the influence of neoliberal governance, among other things. Finally, we discuss how rethinking institutional energy governance could help reduce energy demand and reflect on wider lessons for research and policy on organisational sustainability.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: demand, energy management, governance, organisations, professional practice, sustainability
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2020 09:36
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2022 13:41

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