1st Edition

Comfort in a Lower Carbon Society

ISBN 9780415852869
Published October 30, 2013 by Routledge
128 Pages

USD $62.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Current expectations and standards of comfort are almost certainly unsustainable and new methods and ideas will be required if there is to be any prospect of a significantly lower carbon society. This collection reassesses relationships between people and the multitude of environments they inhabit in the context of increasing carbon intensities of everyday life. In this bold and unconventional volume historians, sociologists, environmentalists, geographers, and cultural theorists provoke and stimulate debate about the future of comfort in a lower carbon society. These contributions are then subject to critical commentary from a range of academic and policy perspectives. The result is a book that promotes academic and policy discussion of the environmental consequences of indoor climate change around the world, and that offers new perspectives and strategies for moving towards a lower carbon future.

This book was published as a special issue of Building Research & Information.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Comfort in a Lower Carbon Society (Elizabeth Shove, Sociology, Lancaster University; Heather Chappells, Geography, Lancaster University; Loren Lutzenhiser, Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University; Bruce Hackett, Sociology, UC Davis)

2. Air-conditioning and the ‘homogenization’ of people and built environments (Stephen Healy, University of New South Wales)

3. Re-contextualizing the notion of comfort (Raymond Cole, Architecture, UBC; John Robinson, Zosia Brown, Meg O’Shea, IRES, University of British Columbia)

4. Conquering winter: US consumers and the cast iron stove (Howell Harris, History, Durham University, UK.)

5. Growth in mobile air-conditioning: a socio-technical research agenda (Graham Parkhurst and Richard Parnaby, Built Environment, University of the West of England)

6. Understanding heat wave vulnerability in nursing and residential homes (Sam Brown and Gordon Walker, Geography, University of Lancaster)

7. Escaping the house: comfort and the California garden (Gail Cooper, History, Lehigh University, USA)

8. Comfort expectations: the impact of demand-management strategies in Australia (Yolande Strengers, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia)

9. New standards for comfort and energy in building (J F Nicol and M A Humphreys)


10. The conditioning of comfort (Harold Wilhite, SUM, University of Oslo)

11. Comfort in a brave new world (Ian Cooper, Eclipse Consultants, Cambridge)

12. Are Comfort Expectations of Building Occupants Too High? (Mithra Moezzi, Ghoulem Research, San Rafael, California.)

13. Cold Comfort in a High Carbon Society? (Jim Skea OBE, Director, UK Energy Research Centre, Imperial College)

14. Studying thermal comfort in context (Russell Hitchings, Geography, UCL)

View More



Elizabeth Shove is professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. She has written widely on theories of practice, technology, consumption, environment and everyday life. She is co editor (with Frank Trentmann and Rick Wilk) of Time, Consumption and Everyday Life: Practices, materiality and culture (Berg, forthcoming 2009).

Heather Chappells is honorary research fellow in Geography at Lancaster University. She has undertaken several projects examining the social, institutional and cultural dimensions of sustainable consumption, provision and practices in the UK energy and water sectors - including Future Comforts: Reconditioning indoor environments with Elizabeth Shove (ESRC, 2003-2004).

Loren Lutzenhiser is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. His research focuses on the environmental impacts of socio-technical systems, particularly how urban energy and resource use is related to global environmental change.