I am an environmental geographer with a focus on energy, climate change and resource consumption.
My research examines the ways in which environmental impact relates to everyday life. It begins with the idea that energy and resource consumption are bound up in social practices such as travelling to work, cooking and eating, and achieving comfort. This perspective tells us that policies designed to reduce environmental impact require an understanding of how and why social norms and behaviours become established. For instance, the steady increase in ‘normal’ indoor temperatures over the last 50 years, the transition from bathing to showering, or the proliferation of plastics in food production and consumption.
My DPhil applied these ideas to the practices of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the policies developed to reduce their energy consumption. These policies include government funded incentives such as free expert advice and grants for energy efficiency measures. These are intensive – and expensive - policy instruments, and my current research project called Growing Greener, is exploring how to make face-to-face business support more effective.
I am now working on a project with Oxford City Council on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. As we transition away from the use of internal combustion engine vehicles towards battery electric vehicles (BEVs), a new network of charging points will be required: particularly for the millions of people who live in towns and cities and rely on on-street parking. The Go Ultra Low Oxford project is trialling five different charging technologies, and I have joined the Transport Studies Unit to help evaluate these.
Alongside my research I work with the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to provide direct support to SMEs. This role involves supporting local environmental businesses and charities, and supporting others to reduce their environmental impact.