Reducing Demand for Energy in Hospitals: Opportunities for and Limits to Temporal Coordination

  • Stanley Blue


This chapter describes some of the ways that demand for energy is made in hospitals. It develops an account of energy demand as the outcome of the organisation of connected working practices that constitute the regular provision of healthcare. Drawing on interview data taken from an ethnographic study of institutional rhythms and the organisation of working practices in hospitals, it describes how changes in the material arrangements, professional boundaries and temporalities that underpin hospital life affect the fixity and flexibility of connections between practices in ways that matter for the potential for large institutions to achieve demand side response and to foster the design of new and less resource-intensive ways of working.


  1. Blue, S., and N. Spurling. 2016. Qualities of connective tissue in hospital life: How complexes of practices change over time. In The nexus of practices: Connections, constellations, practitioners, ed. A. Hui, E. Shove, and T. Schatzki, 24–37. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. NHS Sustainable Development Unit. 2016. Health check: Sustainable development in the health and care system. Cambridge: NHS England Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Powells, G., H. Bulkeley, S. Bell, et al. 2014. Peak electricity demand and the flexibility of everyday life. Geoforum 55: 43–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Schatzki, T.R. 2010. The timespace of human activity. On performance, society and history as indeterminate teleological events. Lexington: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2016. Multiplicity in social theory and practice ontology. Praxeological political analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Shove, E. 2009. Beyond the ABC: Climate change policy and theories of social change. Environment & Planning A 42: 1273–1285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Shove, E., and G. Walker. 2010. Governing transitions in the sustainability of everyday life. Research Policy 39: 471–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. 2014. What is energy for? Social practice and energy demand. Theory, Culture & Society 31: 41–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Shove, E., M. Pantzar, and M. Watson. 2012. The dynamics of social practice: Everyday life and how it changes. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Southerton, D. 2006. Analysing the temporal organization of daily life: Social constraints, practices and their allocation. Sociology 40: 435–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. ———. 2013. Habits, routines and temporalities of consumption: From individual behaviours to the reproduction of everyday practices. Time & Society 22: 335–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Southerton, D., A. McMeekin, and D. Evans. 2011. International review of behaviour change initiatives: Climate change behaviours research programme. Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.Google Scholar
  13. Torriti, J. 2017. Understanding the timing of energy demand through time use data: Time of the day dependence of social practices. Energy Research & Social Science 25: 37–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Walker, G. 2014. The dynamics of energy demand: Change, rhythm and synchronicity. Energy Research & Social Science 1: 49–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Wallenborn, G. 2015. The tragedy of energy efficiency. An interdisciplinary analysis of rebound effects. Belgium: ULB – Universite Libre de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  16. Warde, A. 2005. Consumption and theories of practice. Journal of Consumer Culture 5: 131–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Zerubavel, E. 1979. Patterns of time in hospital life: A sociological perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley Blue
    • 1
  1. 1.Lancaster UniversityLancasterUK

Personalised recommendations