About the project

Reshaping the Domestic Nexus is a multi-stage, ESRC funded research project bringing together academics from leading research groups at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester with policy partners in BEIS, DEFRA, FSA, Waterwise, Actant Consulting Artesia Consulting, Northumbrian Water Group (NWG), WWF-UK and WRAP. The researchers are from research groups which have been at the forefront of new ways of understanding how householders’ routine activities end up demanding resources, including of energy, food and water. This project’s purpose is to make that understanding useful for informing actual policy processes with our policy partners.

The research is being led by Matt Watson at the University of Sheffield, with Mike Foden, David Evans, and Liz Sharp, also at the University of Sheffield, and Ali Browne and Claire Hoolohan at the University of Manchester.

The project is funded by the ESRC Nexus Network  and the ESRC Impact Accelerator Accounts (IAAs). 

You can find out more about the project here.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Change Points for the Nexus at Home’: Stage 3 of our ESRC funded research

For the past six months (since Feb 2018), the Nexus at Home team (Browne, Watson, Evans, Sharp, Foden) – with the exciting addition of Research Fellow Dr Claire Hoolohan – have been busy working on an ESRC Impact Accelerator Account (funded through ESRC IAA at the University of Manchester). This is the third stage of our research project and is titled ‘Change Points for the Nexus at Home: A toolkit for developing policy for water-energy-food consumption in UK homes’. The intention is to build upon our existing inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects (see Reports), and to deepen our influence and impact in different spheres of environmental policy and business practice related to the domestic nexus of water-energy-food.

We are developing a ‘toolkit’ – a co-designed workshop process and accompanying workbook – that stakeholders can undertake (either within their own organisations or with coalitions of interconnected ‘problem owners’) in order to redefine problems, identify alternative ‘Change Points’ to the behaviours they seek to address, and demarcate routes to new policy pathways and intervention programmes.

The objectives of this project are to:

(1) co-produce a toolkit with our non-academic stakeholders and academic advisors to support policy and planning;
(2) to disseminate the toolkit via the networks of each partner organisation to reach practitioners working within business, government and not-for-profit sectors;
(3) develop the application of practice theories and household sustainability research in a way that influences ‘real world’ policy and business settings;
(4) assist in developing the evidence base for policy development based on these theoretical approaches.

The development of the toolkit has been led by Alison Browne (PI) at the University of Manchester,  alongside Research Fellow/Co-I Claire Hoolohan, and with strategic direction and input from Matt Watson, Liz Sharp and David Evans at the University of Sheffield (Co-Is) and Mike Foden (Co-I; Keele University, previously Sheffield). We have six, strongly committed, formal project partners: Defra, FSA, Waterwise, Northumbrian Water Group (NWG, Essex and Suffolk), Actant Consulting and Artesia Consulting. WWF-UK and WRAP have also participated in the project at various stages.

On Wednesday 27th June 2018 we ‘Beta Tested’ the draft toolkit with project partners. In the morning we focused on ‘water efficiency’ with staff from Waterwise, WWF-UK, Defra, and Northumbrian Water Group attending and exploring new approaches to thinking about water efficiency and water demand. In the afternoon we had colleagues from FSA and WRAP discussing food safety and waste. After further refinement, the toolkit will be ‘soft launched’ in October 2018.

Following the ‘beta test’ we have a range of workshops planned with stakeholders from across the water, energy, food, waste sectors who are interested in using our approach to reframe their activities around behaviour change, household sustainability, and wider environmental and health challenges. These activities in 2018/2019 will be funded by impact funding from the University of Sheffield which will allow us to implement the toolkit and workshop process with a range of stakeholder audiences, in order to maximise our impact across a range of WEF policy domains. Updates will follow regarding the workshops, and emerging outputs and impacts from the project.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New report: Energy use, flexibility and domestic food practices: implications for policy and intervention.

pdf-iconEnergy and kitchen practices report

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16398.46405

This report introduces a new approach to understanding the role of everyday household practices in domestic resource consumption and addressing the policy challenges this presents. To demonstrate this ‘change points’ approach we focus on one such topic: tackling energy use in the provision of food at home. Providing food in the home uses large quantities of energy, with 30-40% of the evening peak in electricity demand in the UK accounted for by food practices. In light of societal concerns over energy, reducing total energy use in domestic food provisioning, or shifting that energy use away from peak electricity demand, are worthwhile objectives. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New report: Food waste, food safety and kitchen practices: implications for policy and intervention

pdf-iconFood waste and safety report – nexus at home

doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.10747.62243

This report, produced in consultation with the Food Standards Agency, is one of four reports introducing a new approach to understanding the role of everyday household practices in domestic resource consumption and addressing the policy challenges this presents. To demonstrate this ‘change points’ approach this report focuses on one such topic: household food waste and its relationship to food safety concerns. Reducing food waste has been a major UK policy concern for a decade. It has an important role to play in meeting future food demand while minimising environmental impact. Households account for 70 per cent of post-farm-gate food waste; reducing household food waste is therefore a key challenge for food policy. Responses to this challenge can, however, sometimes sit in tension with food safety advice. This report synthesises evidence to help understand how householders negotiate these conflicting concerns on a daily basis and how food ends up being discarded in home kitchens. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Report: Food waste and kitchen practices: implications for policy and intervention

pdf-iconFood waste report – nexus at home

doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23212.56960

This report, developed for and in consultation with Defra, is one of four reports introducing a new approach to understanding the role of everyday household practices in domestic resource consumption and addressing the policy challenges this presents. To demonstrate this ‘change points’ approach this report focuses on one such topic: household food waste. Reducing food waste has been a major UK policy concern for a decade. It has an important role to play in meeting future food demand while minimising environmental impact. Households account for 70 per cent of post-farm-gate food waste; reducing household food waste is therefore a key challenge for food policy. This report synthesises evidence to help understand how food ends up being discarded in home kitchens. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Report: Fats, oils, grease and kitchen practices implications for policy and intervention

pdf-iconFOG report and kitchen practices – nexus at home

doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.13146.24005

This report, developed for and in consultation with Waterwise, is one of four reports introducing a new approach to understanding the role of everyday household practices in domestic resource consumption and addressing the policy challenges this presents. To demonstrate this ‘change points’ approach this report focuses on one such topic: household disposal of fats, oils and grease (FOG). The problem of FOG in UK sewers has attracted increased attention in recent years. Industry responses focus on removing sewer blockages and reducing the FOG that enters sewers from commercial sources. However, around three quarters of sewer FOG comes from domestic sources, making household disposal a key priority for change. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Talking FOGs with Pennine Water Group

PWG_Logo_NBEarly in the project we worked with our partner organisations to identify four specific issues, through which we can explore the new light that nexus thinking, together with a focus on everyday kitchen practices, can shed on ongoing policy challenges. One such issue, identified in collaboration with Waterwise, is the widespread disposal of fats, oils and grease (FOG) via kitchen sinks, leading to severe blockages in drains and sewers.
On 16th March two of the project team, Liz Sharp and Mike Foden, presented initial findings from our work on FOG to some of the water engineers in the University of Sheffield’s Pennine Water Group, as part of their regular seminar series. Our aim was to test out our ideas and get some feedback from a more technically minded audience.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sustainability in turbulent times, Westminster conference

Just over the Thames from Parliament, the project was featured at Sustainability in Turbulent Times. This major event, attended by around 350 and featuring a range of high profile speakers, was the culmination of the work of the ESRC funded Nexus Network. In a wide ranging programme, we covered issues around the challenges and opportunities of pursuing change towards sustainability in light of contemporary political and economic changes and what they represent. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment