Shall we dance? Encounters for energy renovation of single family houses
Paper in proceedings, 2014
In the strive for climate change mitigation and transition the building stock is a major issue to acknowledge as its energy consumption and production of carbon dioxide is significant, around 30% of the total in Sweden. Government policies, subsidies and more have therefore been applied to deal with this issue. However the bulk of efforts have focused on dwellings, office buildings, public buildings and other major installations, whereas the single family house areas have received less attention and presently even enjoy a public regulation regime which leaves up to ten years of room for manoeuver before private house owners are obliged to react. This leaves the arena for more voluntary types of renovation. Studies shows that house owners doing such renovations are prone to contact and use their local SME craftsman. The encounters between house owners and craftsmen come to impede the degree and quality of the energy renovation referring to costs, unstable and/or ineffective technologies, lack of understanding of subsidies and financial options and even general insecurity. This paper reports a local study of three craftsmen contractors and their interaction with house owners as potential customers which is part of a project with a group of participating SMEs. Through interviewing, participant observations and shadowing, the sales processes and negotiations were followed on site inside the customers house. Theoretically the study draws on Goffman's concepts of presentation of self in everyday life, performance, staging and "front". The results show a complex interactive pattern, like a dance, where limited local knowledge play a role as does subtle assumptions about cost and economic capacity. Thus rather than placing the responsibility for conservative renovation actions on either the craftsmen or the house owners, it is claimed here that the two parties are acting in a routinized play they cannot easily escape.