The use of 'Local Practical Knowledge' in sustainable energy systems
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Given the historical traditions of residential users not being aware of their energy consumption, and the industry lacking the involvement of residential users; a successful energy transition asks for more focus on residential users. In order to do so, this research investigates how various projects regarding new sustainable energy systems, cope with user-involvement and explore if stakeholders rethink the input and role of residential users. The concept of ‘local practical knowledge’ is used in this thesis as a sensitizing concept throughout the exploration process. This concept originates from a theory of Fleck (1993, 1994) on technological configurations. The concept refers to very specific user requirements, related to the usability and value (meaning) of the system, which the technological system should meet in order to be implemented successfully. Drawing back on the performed analyses it can be concluded that ‘local practical knowledge’ can take various forms and does not always shape the architecture of the system to the same extend: In local initiatives, ‘local practical knowledge’ only consists of knowledge about the goals the users wants to reach. These local goals from users in combination with the technological possibilities in the specific setting, determines how the system is going to look like. Hence, ‘local practical knowledge’ is being used in a manner which does not strike with the views as stated by Fleck (1994) and Peine (2009), since it is not used in the implementation process and does not result in the creation of certain amount of novelty in the technology. In pilots by organisations ‘local practical knowledge’ consists of knowledge about local system goals from the organisation and specific user-requirements. Knowledge regarding user-requirements is a combination of knowledge about: the usability of the system, and the user goals that create additional value for residents. By aligning both the generic component knowledge and the local practical knowledge, a viable system comes into being. These results underpin the statement of Fleck (1994) that successful implementation is reached by combining both generic technology knowledge and local practical knowledge.