MSc Colloquia of the Environmental Policy Group

MSc Students who write their thesis with the Environmental Policy group will present their work in a MSc Colloquium. You are warmly invited to attend the colloquia.

If you would like to present your thesis, or if you need more information, or want to know more about scheduled MSc Colloquia please contact the coordinator.

All MSc colloquia take place in the Leeuwenborch building.

Impression of a MSc Colloquium at ENP
Name Title (short) Supervisor(s) Date & time Room Number
Maartje van der Knaap Residential Retrofitting in Amsterdam: Fragmented Urban Governance? Ingrid Boas, Bas van Vliet January 20th: 12:00-12:30 C84
Xujun Hu Nudging towards sustainable energy consumption practices Gert Spaargaren January 20th: 12:30-13:00 C84

Abstract of Maartje van der Knaap

Reducing and replacing the non-renewable energy used for residential buildings is an important strategy to improve the sustainability of cities. In Amsterdam, the diversity and character of the housing stock poses a challenge on attempts to improve the residential energy performance. Residential retrofitting is one of the items on the city’s sustainability agenda and the municipality aims to promote and facilitate initiatives to reduce and replace non-renewable energy used for residential heating and electricity. This study focuses on the different actor groups involved in the governance of retrofitting, and whether the diversity of actors causes fragmentation among them. There does not seem to be a central actor or organisation who governs residential retrofitting in Amsterdam. This study builds on data gathered through interviews, participant observations and policy documents. The results  show that on the level of contents the fragmentation is low: actors have largely similar norms, goals and perceptions with respect to retrofitting. However, collaboration and coordination could be increased between the actor groups and projects, which indicates some fragmentation. The fragmentation has both positive and negative consequences for realising the municipal goals concerning retrofitting in Amsterdam. The conceptual framework is based on fragmentation theory, which introduces a novel way to analyse urban governance for residential retrofitting.


Abstract of Xujun Hu

While fossil fuel based energy consumption has generated great amount of greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbates climate change issues, smart meter feedback systems are expected to reduce households’ energy consumption to mitigate this influence. Smart meter feedback systems are not mandates nor incentives for households to reduce their energy use, the potential of it to save energy is therefore up for debate. This research investigates the effects of smart meter feedback systems in reducing household’s energy consumption as nudges and the role of smart meter feedback nudges in changing household energy consumption practices towards sustainability. Smart meter feedback nudges: salient information, social norms, and commitment are all shown to be effective in reducing households’ energy consumption. In the meantime, the different forms and delivering methods of the three nudges in real context have different effects in changing the energy consumption of households. Their triggered behavioral changes to save energy differ as well. Smart meter feedback nudges manage to change the household energy consumption practices by changing its consisting elements: materials, competences & understandings, engagement and rules. Salient energy information and energy price gives initial changes to materials and rules respectively. Social norms and commitment lead to initial changes in engagement. These initial changes are influenced by other elements in the energy consumption practices and in the meantime affect other elements. The initial changes also vary in themselves as time goes. This whole dynamic process determines sustainable change in the energy consumption practices to occur, fade, stabilize or never emerge after the intervention of smart meter feedback nudges.