The Practice of Energy Efficiency Consulting for Commercial Buildings: An Analysis Through the UK Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme

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The UK recently adopted the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS), requiring large businesses to conduct an energy audit of its buildings and identify opportunities for energy efficiency. This policy requires external consultants to conduct or review the audit. Using ESOS as a platform, this thesis examines concrete elements of the consulting practice, and explores how they may influence the adoption of energy efficiency measures in UK commercial buildings. Based on sixteen semi-­‐structured interviews with ESOS consultants, this thesis offers numerous insights into the on-­‐the-­‐ round practice of energy efficiency consulting, addressing a much-­‐deserved academic and professional gap. This thesis finds that, as opposed to elements of the consulting practice, pre-­‐existing factors influencing businesses’ approach to energy efficiency are most important in driving businesses to adopt measures identified through the ESOS audit. This raises questions to policymakers and practitioners about the overall impact of energy efficiency consulting and mandatory energy audit policies on the uptake of energy efficiency in commercial buildings. On the other hand, this thesis introduced an innovative conceptual framework that combines prominent concepts of management consulting and existing sociological insights on energy use in commercial organisations, which offers an enriched and unprecedented practice-­‐ based view of energy efficiency consulting.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen