This investigation aims to reframe the sizeable literature on barriers and drivers for energy efficiency measures (EEMs) and the phenomenon of the energy efficiency gap. The authors identify a gap between academic methods and industrial needs, as well as a neglect of the cultural dimension, despite its considerable impact. On the basis of this insight, the purpose of this paper is to integrate all of the various influences on industrial energy behavior previously identified in the literature in a refined energy cultures framework.
This paper includes a systematic literature review of research in the field of energy management, energy efficiency and cultural aspects within barriers and drivers of energy behavior. The authors select and refine an existing energy cultures framework for the industrial context. To meet industrial needs, the authors applied an ontology mapping of its core elements onto an international standard common for industrial energy management practice.
First, the authors present a refined framework for industrial energy cultures incorporating past barriers and drivers as factors. The framework enables an evaluation of attitude and behavioral aspects, underlying technologies, organizational culture and actions related to energy as a system of interdependencies. Second, the factors are ranked on the basis of the number of appearances and empirical metadata. Economic aspects such as “purchase, installment and hidden costs”, “general investment and risk behavior” and “regulatory conditions” are the highest ranked factors, but “existing knowledge about EEM”, “hierarchy approach: top down” and “environmental concerns” follow closely and represent cultural aspects, which are still underrated. Third, while illustrating a successful mapping onto a standardized process of continuous improvement, the authors also argue for heightened academia–practice efforts.
Reframing the energy efficiency gap as a problem of what aspirations play a role, what technology is chosen and how technologies are used should increase the level of implementation of EEMs in the real business world. Introducing the refined energy cultures framework serves as a starting point for future transdisciplinary collaboration between academia and practice.
Targeting the energy efficiency gap is an essential part of the sustainable development goals. The refined energy cultures framework allows for a better understanding of the industrial energy behaviors that are responsible for a significant share of a company’s success. The introduction of energy cultures serves as a starting point for future scholarly research within sustainability management accounting.
The investigation combines existing research streams, their concepts and their results about cultural aspects related to energy efficiency for both academics and practitioners. This review is the first to capture all of the various factors analyzed in academic literature using the energy cultures framework as a basis. The authors add to the theoretical development of that framework with its application to the industrial context. This is identified as a gap. Its refinement helps to holistically understand barriers and drivers of industrial EEMs to support its practical implementation.
Rotzek, J., Scope, C. and Günther, E. (2018), "What energy management practice can learn from research on energy culture?", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 515-551. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-07-2017-0067Download as .RIS
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