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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Barriers to Energy Efficiency in the UK New-Build Housing Industry

This paper sets out to understand the barriers to energy efficiency in the UK new-build housing industry by applying the ‘taxonomy of barriers’ developed by Sorrell et al (2000;2004), which provides a framework for understanding why cost-effective energy efficiency measures are not taken up.  It discusses the applicability of the methodology to supply chain-based industries, where key decision-making actors are not the final users of energy.  It concludes that the methodology is applicable, with some caveats, and provides some useful conclusions for policy-makers, provided that it is incorporated into a dynamic analysis of the problem space.  However, the paper also warns of the danger of the automatic assumption that available solutions are privately cost-effective, which can distract policy-makers from considering the more difficult possibility that meeting carbon emission goals will come at a net cost, and how this will be shared.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.