The Social Impacts of Digitally-Enabled Energy Efficiency in Buildings

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RMIT Europe

Minerva 2

08006 Barcelona


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Traditionally, policymakers and Researchers focused on the techno Have-economic approach in Assessing the Impacts of energy efficient buildings (EEB) . However, with sustainable energy becoming a prominent topic in recent times, there has - Been a growing need to widen the scope to social include and ethical Both factors. This seminar Brings together insights from academia and industry to shed light on Reasons Why Should society account for human experience, activity and social practices in Influencing energy consumption, and how can help These understandings plan for a sustainable future.

In particular the seminar will address:

  • How we can study relationships and gaps Between the possibilities opened by automation for energy monitoring and demand reduction handler handler handler (such as smart appliances, internet-enabled consumer electronics and home applications control) and Their adoption and use in practice.

  • What lessons can we draw from everyday consumption practices Regarding energy, demand and the use of automated technologies.

  • Effective ways to create policies, technologies and Measures to Ensure sustainable forms of energy consumption and demand.

A team of experienced industry and academic speakers will share insights in examining staff Their energy consumption and demand in homes while working on Several European and Australian projects. Their expertise covers a wide range of areas, treats Including energy provision, smart and digital technologies, civil society platforms for sustainable energy, and energy efficiency building retrofits. The seminar will be Concluded with a discussion session moderated by the Executive director of RMIT Europe, Marta Fernandez. These outcomes will help Contribute to articulating the research needs Relating to the Social Impacts of energy Efficiency and the role of automation.


Marta Fernandez is the Executive Director of RMIT Europe. She leads the expansion of RMIT’s global reach across research, industry and student mobility in Europe. She oversees the effective implementation of the University's research strategy as well as the development of strong industry partnerships to support the quality and relevance of RMIT education and research. Her focus is also on fostering collaborative postgraduate academic programs and growing opportunities for student exchange within Europe.

Sarah Pink is the Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and Distinguished Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Sarah is an international leader in digital, sensory and visual ethnography, including a track record of EPSRC (UK) funded ethnographic research in the field of energy efficiency. Her research focuses on digital and automated everyday life and futures, human experience and research and intervention methodologies, and is funded by national research councils and industry partnerships across Australia, Sweden and Spain. Her new books include Digital Materialities (2016), Digital Ethnography (2016), Screen Ecologies (2017), Future Anthropologies (2017), Making Homes: design and ethnography (2017) and Theoretical Scholarship and Applied Practice (2017).

Yolande Strengers is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University, where she co-leads the Beyond Behaviour Change research program. Yolande’s research is clustered around a series of applied research projects focused on smart technologies, energy demand and sustainability.

Larissa Nicholls is a Research Fellow in the Beyond Behaviour Change research program at RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research, with a research agenda spanning energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives, teaching and training, community development and medical research. One significant aspect of Larissa’s research is to understand how organisations and policy can inform transitions to more sustainable, healthy and equitable practices in resource and energy consumption.

Valeria Ferrando is Head of EU Research at Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd. She has over 10 year experience in the implementation of R&D projects with respect to sustainable and energy efficient buildings and districts, innovative materials for improved building performance as well as ICT tools for design and masterplanning. Within IES, she is responsible for implementing the IES vision for sustainable communities through R&D funded research, ensuring that the projects lead to marketable products for the company.

Adrian Joyce is the Secretary General of the European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE) that brings together Europe’s leading companies that provide the products, equipment and services that go together to create high energy performance in buildings. Adrian is also the Campaign Director of the Renovate Europe Campaign, which was initiated by EuroACE in 2011 in order to bring about a threefold increase in renovation rates of existing buildings by 2020 and to ensure that, by 2050, the existing building stock in the EU consumes at least 80% more energy efficient than they were in 2005. A professionally qualified architect, he worked 17 years in private practice (working in the UK, France, and Belgium and in his native country, Ireland) before getting involved full-time in architectural policy. Adrian holds a part-time post teaching Construction Technology at the Catholic University of Louvain-le-Neuve. He is also a Board Member of eceee (the European Council for an energy Efficient Economy) and a Member of the Steering Committee of the European Coalition for Energy Savings.

Isabel Lacave Azpeitia is a Researcher and Project Manager in the Efficient Construction Area at Acciona Infraestructuras Technology Center. She has participated in several EU founded projects in the field of energy efficiency building retrofit and advanced envelope refurbishment technologies. She is BRESAER Project Coordinator, a Horizon 2020 -funded project. BRESAER develops a cost-effective, adaptable and industrialized envelope system (façade and roof) for buildings refurbishment. It includes a combination of active and passive pre-fabricated solutions governed by an innovative Building Energy Management System, which manages all the different envelope functions, the energy facilities of the building and monitor the energy generated by the system.

Nora Mzavanadze is a Research Associate at the Collaboratory of Urban Resilience and Energy (CURE), Manchester Urban Institute, the University of Manchester. She is an economist and environmental scientist currently involved the Horizon 2020 project COMBI – Calculating and Operationalising the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Europe. The project aims at quantifying the multiple non-energy benefits of energy efficiency in the EU-28 and Nora is responsible for modeling social welfare related co-benefits.


10:00am to 10:30am - Registration and welcome

10.30am to 10.45am - Introduction and Presentation of the EC report ‘Impact of the Energy-efficient Buildings Public-Private Partnership’ Marta Fernandez, RMIT Europe

10:45am to 12:00pm - Panel 1: Energy demand, digital lives and sustainability Panel

Home automation in everyday life: Opportunities for energy demand reduction (Yolande Strengers and Larissa Nicholls, RMIT University)

Energy and Digital Living: from critique towards viable intervention (Sarah Pink, RMIT University)

How integrated performance analysis and ICT can support better buildings and smarter cities: examples and success cases (Valeria Ferrando, Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES))

12:00pm to 12:30pm - Coffee break

12:30pm to 1:45pm - Panel 2: Social impacts of building retrofits

Tackling Energy Waste in Buildings – Necessary, but with what societal objectives in mind? (Adrian Joyce, EuroACE and Renovate Europe)

Social engagement: main driver and barrier towards successful energy efficiency building retrofit (Isabel Lacave Azpeitia, ACCIONA Infraestructuras)

Towards the operationalization and quantification of social welfare benefits of energy efficiency: the experience of project COMBI (Nora Mzavanadze, University of Manchester)

1:45pm to 2:00pm - Closing remarks Marta Fernandez, RMIT Europe

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RMIT Europe

Minerva 2

08006 Barcelona


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