Services revisited:What is energy for?

Morley, J. (2021) Services revisited:What is energy for? In: Research Handbook on Energy and Society. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, pp. 57-68. ISBN 9781839100703

Full text not available from this repository.


This chapter reviews the markedly different ways in which concepts of ‘energy service’ are used, despite each ostensibly speaking to ‘what energy is for’. Although the importance of energy demand reduction is widely acknowledged, understandings of what demand actually is vary widely. This chapter argues that sociological conceptualisations of energy service, which are commonly overlooked, offer an important perspective to the analysis of energy demand. In particular, sociological concepts emphasise the cultural and historical specificity of ʼneeds’ which tend to be interpreted in more static ways in other literatures. This has consequences for attempts to reorganise and decarbonise energy systems, since policies may work to reproduce current ways of life rather than recognising and harnessing their existing roles in shaping energy services. This is explored in relation to the current policy interest in ‘Heat as a Service’.

Item Type:
Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings
Additional Information:
Export Date: 6 June 2022 Correspondence Address: Morley, J.; Lancaster UniversityUnited Kingdom References: Baccini, P., Brunner, P.H., (1991) Metabolism of the Anthroposphere, , Springer-Verlag; Berkhout, P.H.G., Muskens, J.C., Velthuijsen, J.W., Defining the rebound effect (2000) Energy Policy, 28 (6-7), pp. 425-432; Brand-Correa, L.I., Steinberger, J.K., A framework for decoupling human need satisfaction from energy use (2017) Ecological Economics, 141, pp. 43-52; Chappells, H., Shove, E., Debating the future of comfort: Environmental sustainability, energy consumption and the indoor environment (2005) Building Research & Information, 33, pp. 32-40; Cullen, J.M., Allwood, J.M., The efficient use of energy: Tracing the global flow of energy from fuel to service (2010) Energy Policy, 38 (1), pp. 75-81; Darby, S., Fawcett, T., (2018) Energy sufficiency: An introduction, ,, A concept paper for eceee. Available at; Day, R., Walker, G., Simcock, N., Conceptualising energy use and energy poverty using a capabilities framework (2016) Energy Policy, 93, pp. 255-264; (2019) Using the Living Lab to sell consumer centric heat services that encourage adoption of low carbon heating, ,, Available at; Fell, M.J., Energy services: A conceptual review (2017) Energy Research & Social Science, 27, pp. 129-140; Fouquet, R., The slow search for solutions: Lessons from historical energy transitions by sector and service (2010) Energy Policy, 38 (11), pp. 6586-6596; Fouquet, R., Long-run demand for energy services: Income and price elasticities over two hundred years (2014) Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 8 (2), pp. 186-207; Gram-Hanssen, K., Christensen, T.H., Petersen, P.E., Air-to-air heat pumps in real-life use: Are potential savings achieved or are they transformed into increased comfort? (2012) Energy and Buildings, 53, pp. 64-73; Haas, R., Nakicenovic, N., Ajanovic, A., Faber, T., Kranzl, L., Müller, A., Resch, G., Towards sustainability of energy systems: A primer on how to apply the concept of energy services to identify necessary trends and policies (2008) Energy Policy, 36, pp. 4012-4021; Heiskanen, E., Pantzar, M., Toward sustainable consumption: Two new perspectives (1997) Journal of Consumer Policy, 20 (4), pp. 409-442; Jonsson, D.K., Gustafsson, S., Wangel, J., Höjer, M., Lundqvist, P., Svane, Ö., Energy at your service: Highlighting energy usage systems in the context of energy efficiency analysis (2011) Energy Efficiency, 4, pp. 355-369; Kalt, G., Wiedenhofer, D., Görg, C., Haberl, H., Conceptualizing energy services: A review of energy and well-being along the Energy Service Cascade (2019) Energy Research & Social Science, 53, pp. 47-58; Kesicki, F., Anandarajah, G., The role of energy-service demand reduction in global climate change mitigation: Combining energy modelling and decomposition analysis (2011) Energy Policy, 39, pp. 7224-7233; Knoeri, C., Steinberger, J.K., Roelich, K., End-user centred infrastructure operation: Towards integrated end-use service delivery (2016) Journal of Cleaner Production, 132, pp. 229-239; Kuijer, L., Watson, M., “That’s when we started using the living room”: Lessons from a local history of domestic heating in the United Kingdom (2017) Energy Research & Social Science, 28, pp. 77-85; Lovins, A., Energy strategy: The road not taken (1976) Foreign Affairs, 1, pp. 65-96; Mont, O.K., Clarifying the concept of product-service system (2002) Journal of Cleaner Production, 10 (3), pp. 237-245; Morley, J., (2014) Diversity, dynamics and domestic energy demand: A study of variation in cooking, comfort and computing, , PhD, Lancaster University; Morley, J., Rethinking energy services: The concept of “meta-service” and implications for demand reduction and servicizing policy (2018) Energy Policy, 122, pp. 563-569; Morley, J., Energy services (2019) Energy Fables: Challenging Ideas in the Energy Sector, pp. 15-26. , Rinkinen, J., Shove, E. and Torriti, J. (eds), Abingdon, New York: Routledge; Nicol, F., Adaptive comfort (2011) Building Research & Information, 39, pp. 105-107; Nicol, J.F., Roaf, S., Rethinking thermal comfort (2017) Building Research & Information, 45 (7), pp. 711-716; Nicol, F., Humphreys, M., Roaf, S., (2012) Adaptive Thermal Comfort: Principles and Practice, , Routledge; Nørgård, J.S., Models of energy saving systems: The battlefield of environmental planning (2000) International Journal of Global Energy Issues, 13 (1-3), pp. 102-122; Plepys, A., Heiskanen, E., Mont, O., European policy approaches to promote servicizing (2015) Journal of Cleaner Production, 97, pp. 117-123; Reister, D.B., Devine, W.D., Total costs of energy services (1981) Energy, 6, pp. 305-315; Rinkinen, J., Shove, E., Marsden, G., (2020) Conceptualising Demand: A Distinctive Approach to Consumption and Practice, , Abingdon, New York: Routledge; Roelich, K., Knoeri, C., Steinberger, J.K., Varga, L., Blythe, P.T., Butler, D., Gupta, R., Purnell, P., Towards resource-efficient and service-oriented integrated infrastructure operation (2015) Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 92, pp. 40-52; Schipper, L., Grubb, M., On the rebound? Feedback between energy intensities and energy uses in IEA countries (2000) Energy Policy, 28 (6), pp. 367-388; Shove, E., Revealing the invisible: Sociology, energy and the environment (1997) International Handbook of Environmental Sociology, pp. 261-273. , Redclift, M. and Woodgate, G. (eds), Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing; Shove, E., (2003) Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience: The Social Organization of Normality, , Oxford, New York: Berg; Shove, E., Putting practice into policy: Reconfiguring questions of consumption and climate change (2014) Contemporary Social Science, 9 (4), pp. 415-429; Shove, E., What is wrong with energy efficiency? (2018) Building Research & Information, 46, pp. 1-11; Shove, E., (2018) The cloak of DEMAND: How to reduce the energy used for heating by around 56%, ,, DEMAND Centre. Available at; Shove, E., Walker, G., What is energy for? Social practice and energy demand (2014) Theory, Culture & Society, 31 (5), pp. 41-58; Shove, E., Chappells, H., Van Vliet, B., (2012) Infrastructures of Consumption: Environmental Innovation in the Utility Industries, , London: Earthscan; Shove, E., Walker, G., Brown, S., Material culture, room temperature and the social organisation of thermal energy (2014) Journal of Material Culture, 19 (2), pp. 113-124; Sorrell, S., (2007) The Rebound Effect: An assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency, , UK Energy Research Centre London; Sorrell, S., Reducing energy demand: A review of issues, challenges and approaches (2015) Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 47, pp. 74-82; Sorrell, S., Gatersleben, B., Druckman, A., The limits of energy sufficiency: A review of the evidence for rebound effects and negative spillovers from behavioural change (2020) Energy Research & Social Science, 64, p. 101439; Sovacool, B.K., Conceptualizing urban household energy use: Climbing the “Energy Services Ladder” (2011) Energy Policy, 39, pp. 1659-1668; Stahel, W.R., The functional economy: Cultural and organizational change (1997) The Industrial Green Game: Implications for Environmental Design and Management, pp. 91-100. , Wasington, DC: National Press; Steinberger, J.K., Van Niel, J., Bourg, D., Profiting from negawatts: Reducing absolute consumption and emissions through a performance-based energy economy (2009) Energy Policy, 37 (1), pp. 361-370; Strengers, Y., Nicholls, L., Convenience and energy consumption in the smart home of the future: Industry visions from Australia and beyond (2017) Energy Research & Social Science, 32, pp. 86-93; Tanabe, S.-I., Iwahashi, Y., Tsushima, S., Nishihara, N., Thermal comfort and productivity in offices under mandatory electricity savings after the Great East Japan earthquake (2013) Architectural Science Review, 56 (1), pp. 4-13; Tukker, A., Tischner, U., Product-services as a research field: Past, present and future. Reflections from a decade of research (2006) Journal of Cleaner Production, 14 (17), pp. 1552-1556; (2017) Registered energy service providers, ,, accessed 20 September 2017 at; Walker, G., Simcock, N., Day, R., Necessary energy uses and a minimum standard of living in the United Kingdom: Energy justice or escalating expectations? (2016) Energy Research & Social Science, 18, pp. 129-138; Wilhite, H., Nakagami, H., Masuda, T., Yamaga, Y., Haneda, H., A cross-cultural analysis of household energy use behaviour in Japan and Norway (1996) Energy Policy, 24, pp. 795-803; Wilhite, H., Shove, E., Lutzenhiser, L., Kempton, W., The legacy of twenty years of energy demand management: We know more about individual behaviour but next to nothing about demand (2000) Society, Behaviour, and Climate Change Mitigation, pp. 109-126. , Jochem, E., Sathaye, J. and Bouille, D. (eds), Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Data Sharing Template/no
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
26 Oct 2022 09:55
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 17:44