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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Janette Webb

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

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 is used in 2017 Scottish Government Energy Strategy  Consultations and 2013 UK Government Heat Strategy.

I also work with Informatics engineers on living labs and social interactions with digital systems for energy feedback.

Recent invited presentations include Low Carbon Heat in Scotland, Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SPREEE), 2018; Making Sustainable Cities – Policies and Practices for Low Carbon Heat in the Different Capitalist Societies of Britain and Germany, University of Hamburg 2017; Acting On Scotland’s Climate Plan and Energy Strategy: collaboration and leadership, Sustainable Scotland Network Annual Conference 2017; UK Local Authorities and Heat Networks, UK Government BEIS Heat Networks Investment Conference, London 2017;  How Local Energy Initiatives are Changing the Structure of the UK Energy System,  UK Energy Research Centre Annual Conference, Warwick University 2017; Why We Need Research on Low Carbon Heat, Energy Systems Catapult, London 2016.

I am a member of the Scottish Government Fuel Poverty Review Panel and Adviser on Scotland's Climate Change Plan and Energy Strategy; UK Government BEIS Steering Group on Heat Networks and Consumer Protection Research; RSE Inquiry into the Future of Energy in Scotland and I Chaired the 2016 Advisory Group on Heat and Energy Efficiency, UK Committee on Climate Change.

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

(2017) Lovell, H., Pullinger, M. and Webb, J. How do meters mediate? Energy meters, boundary objects and household transitions in Australia and the United Kingdom, Energy Research & Social Science, 34, 252–259

(2017) Webb, J. and Hawkey, D. On (not) assembling a market for sustainable energy: heat network infrastructure and British cities, Journal of Cultural Economy, 10:1, 8-20

(2017) Bramley, G., Fitzpatrick, S., Liddell, C. and Webb. J. A New Definition of Fuel Poverty in Scotland - A review of recent evidence Scottish Government ISBN: 978-1-78851-242-8

(2017) Webb, J. Heat, UKERC Review of Energy Policy

(2016) Webb, J. Heat and Energy Efficiency: Making Effective Policy. UK Committee on Climate Change Advisory Group Report

(2016) Webb, J., Hawkey, D., McCrone, D. and Tingey, M. House, home and transforming energy in a cold climate, Families, Relationships and Societies,

(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

(2016) Bush, R., Hawkey, H. and Webb, J. Regulatory Options for District Heating in Scotland. Report to Scottish Government Working Group on District Heating.

(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) Webb, J. 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

  • 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