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Energy Cultures 2: Improving the resilience of New Zealand’s households, businesses and transport systems

Project leader: Dr Janet Stephenson

Project summary

Car lights (220)New Zealand's transport and business sectors have the greatest potential for significant energy savings, and increased competitiveness through energy efficiency.  Households also have much to gain through warmer, drier homes and energy savings.   Energy Cultures 2 is a 4-year research project to develop the knowledge and tools to achieve these changes.
Energy Cultures are where our technologies, practices and norms lock us in to certain patterns of (often inefficient) energy use.  The Energy Cultures research programme examines these habitual patterns, and what needs to change to support changes in energy behaviour. 

Recent updates

In January 2017 the Energy Cultures research programme was awarded ‘gold status’ by its funder, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This status means ‘performing above expectations’ based on MBIE’s evaluation of the team’s annual report [link to annual report – see attached]. Highlights included (a) the widespread adoption, in New Zealand and internationally, of the Energy Cultures framework as a way of understanding behavior, (b) the development of an empirical measure of the dimensions of energy culture, (c) new insights into efficient driving, (d) contributions to electric vehicle policy, and (e) a system dynamics model of electric vehicle uptake.
Congratulations to the Energy Cultures team for this stellar result.

Project Overview

Energy Cultures 2 builds on the interdisciplinary teamwork and knowledge base of the very successful Energy Cultures 1 research project on household energy behaviours (2009-2012).  The programme has two parts:


Efficiency Transitions in Households and Businesses (Science Leader, Emeritus Professor Gerry Carrington):

  • Building a detailed picture of trends in energy-related behaviour (Dr John Williams, Dr Ben Wooliscroft)
  • Comparing interventions for household energy behaviour change (Dr Michelle Scott, Alaric McCarthy)
  • Developing software to deliver personally tailored energy advice on energy efficient choices (Dr Paul Thorsnes)
  • Identifying business interest and opportunities in uptake of energy efficient technologies and practices (Dr Sara Walton)


Future Transport (Science Leader, Dr Janet Stephenson)

  • Cataloging current transport transitions in NZ (Dr Rebecca Ford, Dr Adam Doering)
  • Action research on travel behaviour (Dr Rebecca Ford, Dr Michelle Scott)
  • Creating informed conversations on the implications for NZ of global transport trends (Dr Janet Stephenson, Dr Adam Doering, Dr Debbie Hopkins)
  • Exploring business interest and opportunities in future transport systems (Dr Paul Thorsnes, Dr Sara Walton)
  • Identifying policy changes needed to support transport transitions (Prof Barry Barton)
  • Modelling the system dynamics of future transport (Dr David Rees)

Project Website

For project research findings, publications, blogs, videos, events and interactive tools visit the Energy Cultures website 

Project Publications

A full list of the Energy Cultures 2 publications is on the Energy Cultures website

Videos produced by Energy Cultures.