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Taking care of heating, ventilation and air conditioning in times of energy transition: or how repair and maintenance shape energy infrastructures

English title Taking care of heating, ventilation and air conditioning in times of energy transition: or how repair and maintenance shape energy infrastructures
Applicant Ruegg Jean
Number 165718
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut de géographie et durabilité Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnemen Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Architecture and Social urban science
Start/End 01.10.2017 - 31.12.2021
Approved amount 447'068.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Architecture and Social urban science
Social geography and ecology
Sociology

Keywords (8)

repair; interaction; energy transition; district heating; HVAC; maintenance; building technology; infrastructure

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Reparatur, Unterhalt und energetische Transformation
Lay summary
Ein ethnographisches Forschungsprojekt am Institut de Géographie et Durabilité (Universität Lausanne) über:
  • Reparatur und Unterhalt von Energiewendeinfrastruktur
  • die Bedingungen von Reparatur- und Unterhaltsarbeit
  • die räumlichen und sozialen Auswirkungen von Reparatur und Unterhalt
Das Projekt untersucht Reparatur und Unterhalt an Heizungs-, Lüftungs-, und Kühlsystemen (HLK) als einen wenig beachteten aber wichtigen Aspekt der infrastrukturellen Transformation und des gesellschaftlichen Wandels. Dokumentiert und beschrieben werden sollen, routine- und notfallmässige technische Interventionen von Serviceleuten und welche Interaktionen mit Nutzern, Bewohnern, Eigentümern, Arbeitskollegen, Spezialisten und Vorgesetzten diese Arbeit prägen. Wie gehen die Arbeiter von ausgewählten Facility Service Gesamtanbietern und HLK-Spezialisten (KMU) mit Anforderungen an Raumklima und Lebensqualität um, die während der Arbeit an sie herangetragen werden? Wie werden Probleme angegangen, welche technischen Anpassungen werden vorgenommen? Welchen Beitrag leisten Reparatur und Unterhalt schliesslich zum nachhaltigen Zusammenhalt unserer Stadtlandschaften?

Die Erkentnisse des Projektes sind von Interesse fur die Industrie, die Politik und insbesondere für:
  • Entscheidungsträger, die neue Technologien bevorzugen und die sich nicht nur fur die ökologischen, sondern auch fur die sozialen Auswirkungen der Energiewende interessieren.
  • Institutionen und Nutzergruppen, welche direkt vom infrastrukturellen Wandel betroffen sind.
  • Interessenverbände, die die Neuorganisation von Arbeitsbedingungen im Reinigungssektor und Facility Management beobachten.
  • Akteure der Wirtschaft, welche den Zusammenhang zwischen technischer Arbeit und sozialer Kohäsion erkannt haben.
  • Bildungsinitiativen, die den Beitrag zur Lebensqualität von Städten und Siedlungen von einkommensschwachen Gesellschaftsschichten wertschätzen.
  • Konsumenten und Nutzer/innen, die bevorzugen, zu reparieren statt wegzuwerfen.
  • Forscher und Forscherinnen, die mehr darüber wissen möchten, was Unterhalt und Reparatur bewirken und für die Gesellschaft tun.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 18.01.2018

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Réparation, maintenance et transition énergétique
Lay summary
Un projet de recherche ethnographique à l’Institut de Géographie et Durabilité de l’Université de Lausanne qui examine :

•    la réparation et la maintenance des infrastructures énergétiques de transition;
•    les circonstances de ce travail;
•    les implications sociales et spatiales de la réparation et de la maintenance.

Le projet examine les pratiques de travail liées au chauffage, à la ventilation et à la climatisation (CVC), et l’aborde comme un aspect peu étudié mais central de la transition des infrastructures et du changement social. Il s’agira d’étudier les interventions de routine et d’urgence des techniciens et les interactions qu’ils effectueront avec des usagers, habitants, propriétaires, collègues de travail, spécialistes etc. Comment les ouvriers de fournisseurs complet de Facility Service et d’entreprises spécialisé en CVC répondent ils aux demandes en termes de chaleur, de fraîcheur et de qualité de vie auxquelles ils sont confrontés durant leur travail, et quels sont les acteurs qui émettent ces demandes ? Comment les problèmes sont-ils résolus et quels ajustements techniques sont-ils mis en place? Quelle est enfin la contribution de la réparation et de la maintenance à la cohésion des infrastructures et de nos paysages urbains?

Ce projet de recherche présente un intérêt pour l’industrie et la politique, et plus particulièrement pour les acteurs suivants:

–    Les décideurs, qui privilégient les technologies efficientes sur le plan énergétique, mais ne sont pas pleinement conscients des charges qu’elles représentent pour les entreprises.
–    Les entreprises de service, qui doivent ajuster leurs procédures de travail à de nouvelles technologies et à de nouvelles exigences
–    Les associations professionnelles, qui suivent de près l’évolution des conditions de travail et de l’organisation du travail
–    Les designers et planificateurs, qui sont convaincus du potentiel de créativité que recèle la réparation
–    Les consommateurs, qui souhaitent réparer plutôt que jeter
–    Les chercheurs, qui aimeraient en savoir plus sur les conséquences de la maintenance et de la réparation, ainsi que sur leur contribution à l’ensemble de la société
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 18.01.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Participatory Utopian Sketching: A Methodological Framework for Collaborative Citizen (Re)Imagination of Urban Spatial Futures
Törnroth Suzanna, Day Jennie, Fürst Moritz F., Mander Sarah (2022), Participatory Utopian Sketching: A Methodological Framework for Collaborative Citizen (Re)Imagination of Urban Spatial Futures, in Futures, 102938-102938.
Making Time in Maintenance Work
StrebelIgnaz, FürstMoritz F., BovetAlain (2019), Making Time in Maintenance Work, in Roadsides, 1(1), 11-17.
Repair Work Ethnographies: Revisiting Breakdown, Relocating Materiality
Strebel Ignaz, Bovet Alain, Sormani Philippe (2019), Repair Work Ethnographies: Revisiting Breakdown, Relocating Materiality, Springer Singapore, Singapore.
Le bâtiment en flux : l’infrastructure d’habitation au prisme du travail des concierges
Strebel Iganz, Bovet Alain, Loloum Tristan, Le bâtiment en flux : l’infrastructure d’habitation au prisme du travail des concierges, in L'espace politique, -.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Regio Energie Solothurn Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Escuela de Diseño, Facultad the Arquitectura, Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile Chile (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
CGC Energie Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
EWZ Energiedienstleistungen Elektrizitätswerk Stadt Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
DFG-Graduiertenkollegs Locating Media Universität Siegen Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Siemens Schweiz AG Steinhausen Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
ABZ Allgemeine Baugenossenschaft Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Von Auw SA Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Pfister Baubüro AG St.Gallen Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Department of Information Science Cornell University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
MINO SA / AGCV Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
MINERG-APPELSA Services SA Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Upstate Institute Colgate University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Home Service AG Schwamendingen Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Centre de sociologie de l’innovation TELECOM ParisTech - Département SES France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Department of Sociology Lancaster University Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Cleantech Alps Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Regimo Basel AG, Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
5th STS-CH conference Talk given at a conference Taking Care of Energy Infrastructure at a Distance: The Proxemics of HVAC Maintenance 15.02.2021 Lausanne, Switzerland Loloum Tristan; Fürst Moritz F.; Bovet Alain;
5th STS-CH Conference Talk given at a conference Panel coordination "Taking care of energy infrastructures" 15.02.2021 Lausanne, Switzerland Fürst Moritz F.; Loloum Tristan;
EASST/4S 2020 joint conference Talk given at a conference Knowledge, Knowledgeability, and Acknowledgement in HVAC Maintenance 18.08.2020 Praha, Czech Republic Bovet Alain; Loloum Tristan; Fürst Moritz F.;
16th EASA Biennial Conference Talk given at a conference Energetic Care: Repair and maintenance labor on HVAC infrastructures 21.07.2020 Lisboa, Portugal Loloum Tristan; Fürst Moritz F.;
Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting (4S) Talk given at a conference Healthy Climate Needs a Service: Maintaining HVAC Infrastructures in Times of Transition 04.09.2019 New Orleans, United States of America Bovet Alain; Fürst Moritz F.;
2019 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers Talk given at a conference Infrastructure Workplaces in Transition 03.04.2019 Washington D.C., United States of America Fürst Moritz F.; Bovet Alain;
Annual Meeting of the Swiss Anthropological Association (SEG-SSE-SAA) Talk given at a conference Why Our Cities Don’t Fall Apart: Repair Work Ethnographies 22.11.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Fürst Moritz F.;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Atelier vidéo-ethnographique 13.01.2020 Lausanne, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Ethnographie de la réparation RTS Western Switzerland 2019

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
149478 Reparatur, Unterhalt und Urban Assemblage: Von der Arbeit des Hauswarts zur Theorie urbaner Relationen 01.06.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
160376 Design by Repair: how cities are defined by the myriad functions of repair work 01.01.2015 International short research visits
153684 Repair Work Ethnographies: an international workshop 01.04.2014 International Exploratory Workshops

Abstract

Energy infrastructure management and servicing play a crucial role in the transition to energy-efficient buildings and built environments. A large number of actors (e.g. technicians, engineers, facility managers, call centre operators, care-takers, etc.) contribute to on-going functioning, efficiency, quality and performativity of various energy flows (electricity, gas, heat). In Switzerland, research focuses either on scientific and technological innovation of energy transition (ET) or on the behavioural and regulatory aspects of energy consumption. No research currently addresses the mutations of energy efficient infrastructure through situated practices of use, operation and servicing, which in turn re-specify the infrastructure’s sustainability and durability. Against this background, this project has three objectives:1)To ethnographically record and analyse maintenance and repair work on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) infrastructure.2)To visually document how repair and maintenance work relates to and shapes buildings and infrastructure.3)To develop a theoretical and methodological framework to understand repair and maintenance as steady agents of ET.Hitherto research shows that the following levels have to be taken in account when analysing repair and maintenance work (Bovet, Strebel and Sormani forthcoming): 1) the worn out or broken thing (material level); 2) the organisational framework (socio-technical level); and 3) the accomplished practices (situational level). Each of the project objectives will be worked out on three analytical levels. And in turn, each level will consist of themes, from which research questions will be derived.ET infrastructure repair and maintenance is a very dynamic and complex field. Because of their invisible nature, repair and maintenance remain a ‘missing link’ (Graham and Thrift 2007) in social theory. The planned project uses theoretical concepts from various fields: Science and Technology Studies will be used to understand how ET infrastructures relate to extended social and geographical time-spaces; Infrastructure Studies will be used to understand the incremental and relational work of repair and maintenance; Energy Research will be used as an entry point to locate where maintenance and repair could contribute to energy transition; Social Practice approaches will be used to understand how workers reconfigure ET technology in their everyday work.The project seeks to provide solid social-scientific knowledge on the unfolding work of repair and maintenance on ET infrastructures. It will develop the approach of broken world thinking (Jackson 2014) through research in two infrastructural settings. The first empirical focus is on energy saving and building technology. The project analyses care work on heat and cooling systems in office and residential buildings. The second empirical focus is on energy transport and storage. The project analyses models, business cases and everyday practices of repair and maintenance work on district heating and heat storage. Research in these two settings will be supplemented with mappings and diagrams that aim at visualising impact and transformation capacity of repair and maintenance on selected buildings and ET infrastructures.Empirical investigation in the two infrastructural settings is grounded in a qualitative, case-based approach. Diagrams and maps will be produced from 20 to 30 year maintenance records of selected buildings and ET infrastructures. The research project aims at generating detailed and original factual evidence of the capacities of repair work, and also at providing the energy and building sectors with a coordinated and rigorous assessment of transformation and adaptation as qualities of energy transition.
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