This chapter explores potential ways to implement, and benefits for policymaking of, the complementary use of two different types of modelling for analysing residential energy consumption and ethnographic research. The more traditional approach of techno-economic modelling is considered alongside agent-based modelling that incorporates both causal and intentional relationships; ethnographic approaches provide ‘thick understanding’ of the relationships between social and technical elements and the environment. In doing so, the chapter builds on real examples from academic-policy engagement in the EU on energy demand, consumption and services. We examine three myths of the role of modelling in policymaking and propose practical ways of employing different types of modelling in a complementary way to increase policymakers’ understanding of residential energy demand, consumption and services. Finally, we make three concrete recommendations for developing future interdisciplinary work on integrating social and technical models for informing policy.


Hiteva, R., Ives, M., Weijnen, M. & Nikolic, N. (2018). 'A Complementary Understanding of Residential Energy Demand, Consumption and Services'. In: Foulds, C. & Robison, R. (eds.). "Advancing Energy Policy". Palgrave Pivot, Cham.
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