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Efficiency First: a new paradigm for a sustainable energy system

The UK’s energy policy is at crossroads. Ambitious carbon targets, an aging energy infrastructure, rising fuel poverty and a legacy of fossil fuel investment warrant bold political decisions to ensure the UK transitions to a sustainable low-carbon energy system. Because of the long-term nature of investment in energy infrastructure, decisions made over the next five …

Is Brexit an opportunity to rethink UK carbon pricing?

The UK’s exit from the European Union will make changes to UK carbon pricing unavoidable. Given the complexities and inefficiencies of the current policy mix, could Brexit be viewed as an opportunity for radical policy change in this area? And, if so, what is likely to be the best outcome? The UK played a critical …

Makerspaces: Creating inclusive spaces for sustainable innovations

Making stuff is all the rage these days. But how does sustainable development fit into this enthusiasm? The White House is celebrating a Week of Making from June 16-23 2016 after hosting its first Maker Faire in 2014 to spark a “grassroots renaissance in American making and manufacturing“. The hope is that by exposing people …

Limits to growth or opportunities for prosperity?

Last week, in a hot and crowded room deep within the Houses of Parliament, myself and fellow researchers from The Sussex Energy Group (SEG) and The Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand attended the launch event of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Limits to Growth. The APPG, chaired by Green MP Caroline Lucas and …

What would Brexit mean for UK energy efficiency policy?

Only 10 weeks and UK voters will make the most profound decision of this decade – will Britain stay or leave the European Union? There have been numerous analyses of what the implications of a so-called Brexit might be. Those include the economic impacts, security, and sovereignty. In this blog I will discuss one specific …

Moving beyond products to material culture

BLOG 2 Prototyping or debating sustainable developments in makerspaces? Adrian Smith, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex September 2015 In the previous blog I introduced some of the diverse ways that makerspaces are helping cultivate sustainable developments. Admittedly, these initiatives do not represent the totality of makerspaces, where many projects and activities are oblivious …

Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces?

BLOG 1 Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces? Adrian Smith, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Community-based workshops like hackerspaces, fablabs and makerspaces, equipped with design, prototyping and fabrication tools have spread rapidly in recent years. Interest in the social, economic and environmental possibilities of these spaces has grown too. Amidst the …

Makers, fixers and circular economies

The connection between grassroots making and fixing movements and innovation for low energy demand may not be immediately obvious. When thinking about energy demand and resource use it is reasonable to focus attention on immediate and intensive activities, such as heating homes or offices, or making energy-using products more efficient. However, if we think about …