In order to achieve the goal of optimal stable state of actor influence leading to the highest level in the comfort ladder, their needs and priorities need to be analyzed accurately. First and the most important step is substituting inefficient technologies with efficient ones. As basic energy needs are met, consumer priorities shift to other, often higher quality services. Consumers can climb the technology ladder quickly due to shifts in technologies. This leads to an increasing stress on cleanliness, for environmental and health reasons on the one hand and the growing value placed on flexibility, saving time and avoiding disruptions on the other.
While implementing EE programmes, one has to take human behaviour into consideration. Although there are technologically feasible and economically meaningful potentials for reducing energy consumption levels, the number of measures that is implemented is very small. This is due to the 'implementation gap' which means relating existing potentials to real world implementation. Barriers for the implementation of these measures are not only the political and economical setting, such as for instance the externalization of environmental costs, but also the behaviour of actors and decision makers.
Actually, the implementation of energy efficiency measures can be considered as an ongoing social process involving the interaction of different actors inside and outside organizations. The process comprises different stages: an initial stage of motivation or willingness to act, several steps of problem solving and a final stage, where continuation is possible on the basis of the experiences made by the different actors. As shown in Table 4.2, the process of implementation can be described as a spiralling process of learning by individuals and organizations.34 The process of implementation is not straightforward, following a rational plan, but tends to be incomplete and full of unexpected side effects. Plateaus, stops and fall backs to earlier stages are possible. The complexity of the process reveals itself if one tries to relate the various factors exactly to energy efficiency measures. Thus, all the factors listed below and the associated activities lead to a best performing organization with regard to energy use.
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