Heat Pumps and Household Energy Consumption in Norway
The aim of this project is to contribute to the research on how heat pumps affect energy consumption in Norwegian homes. It approaches the question by focusing on heat pumps as technical objects, and looking in detail at the use of these objects in home settings.
The study uses actor-network theory in conjunction with practice theory to examine the role of heat pumps in the network of household energy-using practices, with a particular focus on home-heating. The aim is to shed light on how these practices might be shaped by heat pump technology, and vice-versa. The study utilises key concepts from ANT, namely the concepts of technological scripts and agency, to conceptualise heat pumps. This conceptualisation is then employed in an examination of the role of heat pumps in the network of household activities, which is approached from a practice theory perspective.
Members from 15 households in the Oslo/Akershus area were interviewed about the use of their heat pump and the other methods used for heating their home. The research questions guiding these interviews were: How do heat pumps, as technical objects, influence the way people use them? Are heat pumps used in the ways intended by their design? And, how do homes With heat pumps use other forms of heating?
The interaction between the user and the heat pump is discussed with a focus on how this interaction affects energy consumption. The study also incorporates an examination of the wider context of this energy use, namely the heating related practices taking place in the households studied.