Accountability To Environmental Policy: Renewable Technologies and Sustainable Housing Development

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 12:00 PM
Room: 315
Distributed Paper
Ritsuko OZAKI , Business School, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Isabel SHAW , Business School, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Complying with policy requires of practitioners that their actions are held to account; and this applies to the context of sustainable development of the social housing sector and its  use of renewable technologies. The building of ‘sustainable housing’ is integral to UK government initiatives to reduce energy consumption, fuel poverty, and carbon emissions, and to generate renewable energy. In this article, we examine how ‘accountability’ is promoted by both the UK government’s environmental policy and local councils in their planning criteria. We investigate how accountability is enacted in, and generative of, the practices of sustainable housing development by housing professionals. We identify a key process of accountability – a politics of making environmental sustainability visible through demonstrating the utilisation of renewable technologies. For housing developers, the choice to install such visible renewable technologies is part of their practices to strategically and creatively meet the policy criteria and the local council’s target for planning permission. These practices reveal much about the competition and politics that underpin how local planning authorities and housing professionals together shape environmental accountability in a bid to comply, win building contracts, and demonstrate their sustainability credentials. We demonstrate how these practices have implications for potential energy provision and consumption.