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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Janette Webb

Janette Webb
Professor Janette Webb
Professor of Sociology of Organisations
S2 Chisholm House High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
+44 (0)131 650 3987
Research Interests
Sustainability, economic sociology, energy and society, energy governance and organisation, cities

Office Hours

Please email for appointment

Research Interests

My research concerns social studies of energy and climate change. In collaboration with the EPSRC Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand, our research group is studying comparative European heat and energy efficiency policies and practices. Recent Heat and the City research focused on urban energy governance and organisation in globalising markets. Further work is analysing local engagement in energy developments (funding from Energy Technologies Institute and UK Energy Research Centre) and evaluating the Scottish Energy Efficiency Pilots (funding from Scottish ClimateXChange). Our research on the UK potential for heat networks as a contributor to energy efficiency is used in 2013 UK Government Heat Strategy.

I also work with Informatics engineers on people's interactions with digital systems for feedback on energy use.

Recent invited presentations include Why We Need Research on Low Carbon Heat, Energy Systems Catapult, London 2016; Electric City to Future City: Utopian Ideas and Material Realities, University of Leeds Sustainability Research Institute 2016; Can UK Heat Networks Become Commercially Viable?  UK Energy Research Centre, Heat Networks & Governance Conference 2016; Low Carbon Heat and Energy Efficiency Policy and Practice, evidence to the UK Committee on Climate Change 2016; The Sociology of Energy Markets, Universitat Hamburg Centre for Global Governance 2015.

I am a member of Scottish Government Expert Commission on District Heating and Regulation; UK Nominated Expert to the International Energy Agency Programme on District Heating and Cooling; Chair of the Advisory Group on Heat and Energy Efficiency, UK Committee on Climate Change, and Trustee of environmental charity, SNIFFER.

Recent Publications


(2016) Hawkey, D., Webb, J., Lovell, H., McCrone, D., Tingey, M. and Winskel, M.  Sustainable Urban Energy Policy: Heat and the City Abingdon: Routledge

Articles and Reports

(2016) Webb, J. and Hawkey, D. On (not) assembling a market for sustainable energy: heat network infrastructure and British cities, Journal of Cultural Economy,

(2016) Webb, J., Hawkey, D. and Tingey M. Governing cities for sustainable energy: The UK case, Cities, j.cities.2015.10.014

(2016) Webb, J. Enabling urban energy: Governance of innovation in two UK cities. Chapter 10 in O. Coutard and J. Rutherford (eds) Beyond the Networked City: Infrastructure Reconfigurations and Urban Change in the North and South, Abingdon: Routledge

(2016) Webb, J. Socio-technical innovation in heat networks: Challenges of financing new systems in UK Cities. Chapter 4 in M. Hodson and S. Marvin (eds) Retrofitting Cities, Abingdon: Routledge

(2015) Webb, J. Improvising innovation in UK urban district heating: the convergence of social and environmental agendas in Aberdeen. Energy Policy, 78: 265–272 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2014.12.003

(2014) ‘Evaluating Urban Energy Systems in the UK - the Implications for Financing Heat Networks’, Science and Technology Studies, 27 (3): 47-67

(2014) (with D. Hawkey) 'District energy development in liberalised markets: situating UK heat network development in comparison with Dutch and Norwegian case studies', Technology Analysis & Strategic Management,

(2014) Horst, D Van Der., Staddon, S. and Webb, J. (eds) Smart Meters and Society, Special Issue of Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 26 (10)

(2014) Pullinger, M., Lovell, H. and Webb, J. ‘Influencing household energy practices: a critical review of UK smart metering standards and commercial feedback devices’ Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 26 (10).

(2014) (with D Hawkey and M Tingey) Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems, Loughborough: UK Energy Technologies Institute

(2014) Bale, C., Bush, R., Hawkey, D. & Webb, J. ‘Valuation of passive provision for heat network investments’ Chapter 6 In A. Brown and M. Robertson (eds.) The Economics of Infrastructure. Newcastle/Leeds: iBUILD.

(2013) (with D. Hawkey and M. WInskel) Organisation and governance of urban energy systems: district heating and cooling in the UK. Journal of Cleaner Production, 44

(2013) (with R. Wiltshire and M. King, BRE, and N. Banks, CSE), Research into barriers to deployment of district heating networks, UK Government Department of Energy & Climate Change, London URN 13D/073

(2012) Climate change and society: the chimera of behavior change technologies. Sociology, 46: 109-125

(2012) Society and a low-carbon future, Earth and Environmental Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 103,  DOI:  10.1017/S175569101300004

(2012) (with D. Sugden and A. Kerr) Climate change, sustainability and the need for a new industrial revolution in Scotland Earth and Environmental Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 103, DOI:  10.1017/S1755691013000029

(2012) (with D. Sugden, A. Werrity, E. Caldwell, C. Campbell, A. Dlugolecki, N. Hanley and A. Kerr) Multi-Level Governance: Opportunities and Barriers in Moving to a Low Carbon Scotland Earth and Environmental Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 103, DOI:  10.1017/S1755691013000078

  • BSc (Hons) First Class, Psychology, University of Hull
  • PhD Social Psychology, University of Nottingham

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome enquiries about research on energy and society, sustainable cities, local energy governance and organisation (LEGO) and climate change.

If you are interested in being supervised by Janette Webb, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology