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Energy efficiency as a wicked problem
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Energy Systems and Building Technology. Linkoping Univ, Div Energy Syst, Dept Management & Engn, S-58183 Linkoping, Sweden..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4823-9905
Lund Univ, Int Inst Ind Environm Econ, S-22350 Lund, Sweden..
Linkoping Univ, Dept Management & Engn, Div Appl Thermodynam & Fluid Mech, S-58183 Linkoping, Sweden..
2019 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 11, no 6, article id 1569Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Together with increased shares of renewable energy supply, improved energy efficiency is the foremost means of mitigating climate change. However, the energy efficiency potential is far from being realized, which is commonly explained by the existence of various barriers to energy efficiency. Initially mentioned by Churchman, the term wicked problems became established in the 1970s, meaning a kind of problem that has a resistance to resolution because of incomplete, contradictory, or changing requirements. In the academic literature, wicked problems have later served as a critical model in the understanding of various challenges related to society, such as for example climate change mitigation. This aim of this paper is to analyze how the perspective of wicked problems can contribute to an enhanced understanding of improved energy efficiency. The paper draws examples from the manufacturing sector. Results indicate that standalone technology improvements as well as energy management and energy policy programs giving emphasis to standalone technology improvements may not represent a stronger form of a wicked problem as such. Rather, it seems to be the actual decision-making process involving values among the decision makers as well as the level of needed knowledge involved in decision-making that give rise to the wickedness. The analysis shows that wicked problems arise in socio-technical settings involving several components such as technology, systems, institutions, and people, which make post-normal science a needed approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 11, no 6, article id 1569
Keywords [en]
energy policy, energy management, wicked problem, energy management system, industry, energy efficiency
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-31078DOI: 10.3390/su11061569ISI: 000465613000064Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85063477107OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-31078DiVA, id: diva2:1372996
Available from: 2019-11-26 Created: 2019-11-26 Last updated: 2019-11-27Bibliographically approved

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Thollander, Patrik

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