Energy efficiency-ing. How an energy-efficient world is produced through practices, objects, rhetoric, and politics

Jens Petter Johansen, PhD, NTNU
Energy efficiency is referred to as an instrument that can contribute to solving contemporary challenges related to climate change, the energy crisis, energy security and economic growth – without negative consequences. But what does it mean for a technology, process or industry to be energy efficient, and how does it come about? And what are we really talking about when we talk about energy efficiency?

My PhD in social sciences attempts to answer these questions, through qualitative case studies of innovation projects to develop energy-efficient production technologies and attempts to utilise excess heat in industrial clusters, in addition to document and media analyses of how energy efficiency is quantified and promoted in research, incentive programs and public discourse. The project investigates the implications of moving beyond a technical understanding of energy efficiency as a measurement or technical quality, to denoting the work of a multitude of actors in developing and implementing technologies, how efficiency becomes represented in numbers and models, and how these are applied rhetorically and politically in research, as well as policy domain.