Rated 4.5 of 5.
Level of importance:
Rated 5 of 5.
Level of validity:
Rated 4 of 5.
Level of completeness:
Rated 4 of 5.
Level of comprehensibility:
Rated 5 of 5.
|I have collaborated with one of the authors (Chris Jofeh) on projects at the research/practice interface of delivering retrofit, in areas outside Wales.|
|ScienceOpen disciplines:||General behavioral science|
|Keywords:||Public policymaking, Energy and policy, Sustainability in architecture and the built environment, Environmental policy and practice, energy, decarbonisation, retrofit, behaviour change, complexity, systems thinking, participatory systems mapping, policy, Sustainability|
Overall I welcome this article’s contribution to reflecting on the practical challenges, and opportunities, in tackling a complex systems problem with an urgent need for change!
The introduction of behavioural systems mapping to the field of retrofit discussion is important, and the use of an underpinning behavioural psychology theory, such as COM-B, adds a rigour which is not often present in this kind of highly applied and practitioner-facing work.
The close attention to the private rented sector is particularly needed, and interesting.
The clarity of thinking that this approach brought to a complex and urgent problem is very welcome. This is described on page 34 as “explicitly specifying actors behaviours and influences on behaviour”. Such clear segmentation and analysis is vital if research understanding is to lead to actual change in practice!
Expanding on the level of validity of the study: I would be interested in more analysis and critique of the composition of the Advisory Group, whose knowledge was core to the maps produced, and therefore to the policy recommendations. Does the advisory group represent all stakeholders? Or rather all domains of expertise thought relevant?
Expanding on the level of completeness of the study: I believe that the most significant contribution of the research is methodological, but I think that the case for retrofit as a vital area which demands such methodological innovation would have been strengthened by more reference to the technical requirements of retrofit (e,g, CCC 2019 “UK Housing: fit for the future”, CLC 2021 “National Retrofit Strategy v2.0) and a recognition that this can be measure by measure, whole house, or over time (e.g. FAWCETT, T. 2013. Exploring the time dimension of low carbon retrofit: owner-occupied housing. Building Research & Information, 42, 477-488.)
While I fully accept that owner occupiers, private landlords and Welsh policy makers are the major actors whose behaviour is being analysed, I think that putting the whole of the supply chain into a single box in the prototype systems diagram, labelled ‘suppliers’ is open to some challenge and could be further refined in future work. Materials and equipment manufacturers have different behaviours to merchants (e.g. Killip G, Owen A, Topouzi M. 2020. Exploring the practices and roles of UK construction manufacturers and merchants in relation to housing energy retrofit. Journal of Cleaner Production. 251), who in turn have different behaviours to the construction firms working in RMI, which are the main focus of the research cited at the moment.
Other observations on the article
Thank you for the opportunity to review this innovative work.