Dr Yolande Strengers

Yolande is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Research, where she co-leads the Beyond Behaviour Change research program.

Yolande’s research is clustered around a series of applied research projects focused on smart technologies, energy demand and sustainability. Her DECRA fellowship, ‘Automating the smart home’, is exploring visions for smart technologies and future ways of life from the perspectives of smart home designers, installers, and households.

Her research is applied and interdisciplinary in focus, spanning the fields of sociology, science and technology studies and human computer interaction design.

Yolande has published a monograph on ‘Smart energy technologies in everyday life‘ (Palgrave Macmillan 2013) and an edited collection (with Dr Cecily Maller) on ‘Social practices, intervention and sustainability’ (Routledge 2014).

Expert commentary on...

Social practice theory; climate change; sustainability; smart meters; smart homes; smart grids; technology-human relations; social change.

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Projects

Hidden energy poverty: Case studies research project

Investigating energy and water under-use by households in order to afford utility bill payments which may have adverse effects on health and quality of life.

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Smart Home Control: Exploring the potential for enabling technologies in households

RMIT researchers are trialling ‘smart’ home control devices in 46 households in Victoria and South Australia – to assess the potential of these devices to help manage home electricity consumption.

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Heatwaves, Homes & Health

The heatwaves, homes and health project is seeking to understand the experiences of households during very hot weather.

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Work/life ecologies: lifestyles, sustainability practices

This project aims to understand staff and students' broader lifestyles as part of a work-life ecology, occurring across a range of spaces, both physical and virtual.

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Automating the smart home

This project will be the first Australian investigation of how automated technologies are being incorporated into household practices, and the expectations they promote, sustain and transform.

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Embedding sustainability in food practices: Investigating spaces of food provisioning and consumption for students at RMIT city campus

As large scale participants in food provisioning and consumption practices, academic institutions like universities have a crucial part to play in food sustainability transitions

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Constructions and practices of ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ meat: implications for meat consumption and the treatment of animals

Reflecting the ethical turn in consumption, meat promoted and labeled as ethical, humane and/or sustainable has emerged as an apparent solution to increasing concerns.

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Horsham Catalyst Housing Evaluation

The Victorian Government’s Department of Human Services has engaged the Beyond Behaviour Change research team to undertake an evaluation of a sustainable housing project in Horsham .

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Changing demand: the flexibility of energy practices in larger households with dependent children

Researchers from the Beyond Behaviour Change research team investigated changing household energy demand.

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Disconnections case studies, Consumer Action Law Centre

The Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) engaged the Beyond Behaviour Change research team to interview householders who have been disconnected from their energy supply.

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EPA approaches to behaviour change

In partnership with BehaviourWorks at Monash University, Beyond Behaviour Change researchers conducted interviews and site visits with EPA field officers.

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Co-managing home energy demand

This project investigated a range of issues concerning home energy demand.

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Airline travel at ANZ Bank

The Beyond Behaviour Change research team conducted research for ANZ to inform its corporate strategy to address greenhouse gas emissions associated with business travel.

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Assessing resilient urban systems to support long term adaptation to climate change

The Resilient Urban Systems project aimed to assess the capacity of community-level urban energy and water systems to support long term adaptation to climate change.

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News & Blog

Energy pricing policy review finds gaps for heat vulnerable residents

A review of electricity pricing policy by RMIT academics has found little consideration of the health and financial risks to vulnerable groups during heatwaves or hot weather.

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‘Smart home’ gadgets promise to cut power bills but many lie idle – or can even boost energy use

“Smart” home control devices promise to do many things, including helping households reduce their energy bills. However, our research published today suggests that these devices are not the “easy” answer to energy management.

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Smart home control – is the reality as bright as its promise?

A new RMIT study finds that ‘smart home’ devices may not be as bright as we thought.

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Smart home technology: not the brightest way to save energy

A new study by RMIT University has found smart home control devices may actually increase energy use rather than cutting it, with households using them more for lifestyle benefits than to save power.

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Smart home industry: Do convenience and energy efficiency always go together?

The smart home is no exception in its ambition for easier living achieved through digital and connected consumerism. At the crux of this idea is the enrolment of internet-enabled devices and appliances in the creation of an even more convenient lifestyle.

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Writing retreats: Academic indulgence or scholarly necessity?

It’s not uncommon for academics to attend conferences that cost thousands of dollars and require time away from our usual place of work.

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Hot dogs and cool cats: keeping pets cool without blowing your energy bill

As the weather heats up, Australian households won’t just be cranking up the air conditioning for themselves. Some households will be turning it on for their dogs or cats.

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Urban researchers shine at RMIT Research Awards

Three researchers from the Centre for Urban Research have been recognised by RMIT University for their outstanding research contributions and industry collaboration.

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Sustainable housing’s expensive, right? Not when you look at the whole equation

Sustainable housing can also have important benefits for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, as the report released this week shows.

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The hidden energy cost of smart homes

Light globes that change colour with the tap of an app, coffee machines you can talk to, and ovens that know exactly how long to cook your food: our homes are getting smart

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The temporal dynamics of being an international visiting scholar

In this short piece of writing we are interested in the ways in which one globalising move — the appointment of the ‘visiting academic’ — disrupts and rearranges the temporal routines of academics’ everyday lives.

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Build in good services from day one for healthier communities: lessons from Selandra Rise

Building new residential communities is no mean feat. Building healthy new communities is an even greater challenge.

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Meet our green research and teaching team

RMIT’s academic green team is working to make the University’s ambitious sustainability vision a reality through teaching and research.

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Feral o’clock: why families struggle to shift their energy use

Research with parents reveals that many household routines are unlikely to shift in response to cost-reflective tariffs such as time-of-use (TOU).

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Study examines electricity use in family life

Families around Australia are needed to take part in RMIT research to better understand how electricity is used in households with children.

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Publications

How to gain traction? From theoretical scholarship to applied outcomes in energy demand research and housing research

This collection advances our understanding of the ethics, values, opportunities and challenges that emerge in the making of engaged and interdisciplinary scholarship.

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Studying social practices and global practice change using scrapbooks as a cultural probe

Our goal in this paper is to contribute to the growing field of social practice research, specifically in regard to studies of globalisation and change.

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Adapting to ‘extreme’ weather: mobile practice memories of keeping warm and cool as a climate change adaptation strategy

In this paper, we are interested in reconceptualising adaptation as a series of everyday and remembered experiences with weather, which are situated within and carried by bodily social practices that contribute to keeping warm and cool.

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Convenience and energy consumption in the smart home of the future: industry visions from Australia and beyond

This paper analyses the industry vision for a ‘simple life’, and asks what energy implications it is likely to generate.

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Horsham Catalyst Research and Evaluation Final Report

This study led by RMIT's Centre for Urban Research and funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, investigates the economic, social and environmental performance of low-carbon houses in comparison with 'standard' residences in Horsham, Victoria.

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Policing and polluting: The role of practices in contemporary urban environmental pollution governance

This paper focuses on the regulator field officers and business duty holders of environmental compliance, who have direct contact in the processes and administration of regulation.

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Dwelling performance and adaptive summer comfort in low-income Australian households

This paper aims to address these gaps, reporting on a study combining in-home temperature monitoring and qualitative interviews with householders.

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Utilising Mixed Methods Research to Inform Low-carbon Social Housing Performance Policy

Moore, T, Strengers, Y and Maller, C 2016, 'Utilising mixed methods research to inform low-carbon social housing performance policy', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 240-255.

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Peak demand and the ‘family peak’ period in Australia: Understanding practice (in)flexibility in households with children

Nicholls, L and Strengers, Y 2015, '(In Press) Peak demand and the 'family peak' period in Australia: understanding practice (in)flexibility in households with children', Energy Research and Social Science, pp. 1-9.

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Social practices, Intervention and Sustainability: Beyond Behaviour Change

Strengers, Y and Maller, C 2015, 'Introduction: Social practices, intervention and sustainability: Beyond behaviour change' in Yolande Strengers, Cecily Maller (ed.) Social practices, intervention and sustainability: Beyond behaviour change, Routledge, Oxon, United Kingdom, pp. 1-12.

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Going Green? The Limitations of Behaviour Change Programmes as a Policy Response to Escalating Resource Consumption

Moloney, S and Strengers, Y 2014, ''Going green'?: The limitations of behaviour change programmes as a policy response to escalating resource consumption', Environmental Policy and Governance, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 94-107.

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The Great Australian Nightmare? The problem of escalating housing aspirations and expectations and adaptation to climate change

Maller, C, Strengers, Y, Moloney, S and Nicholls, L 2013, 'The great Australian nightmare? The problem of escalating housing aspirations and expectations and adaptation to climate change', in Nick Osbaldiston, Catherine Strong and Helen Forbes-Mewett (ed.) 2013 Conference Proceedings: Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations 50 years of Australian Sociology, Hawthorn, Australia, 25-28 November 2013, pp. 1-13.

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Meeting in the Global Workplace: Air Travel, Telepresence and the Body

Strengers, Y 2014, 'Meeting in the global workplace: Air travel, telepresence and the body', Mobilities, vol. online, pp. 1-17.

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Curious energy consumers: Humans and nonhumans in assemblages of household practice

Strengers, Y, Maller, C and Nicholls, L 2014, 'Curious energy consumers: Humans and nonhumans in assemblages of household practice', Journal of Consumer Culture, vol. online, pp. 1-20.

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Interdisciplinarity and industry collaboration in doctoral candidature: tensions within and between discourses

Strengers, Y 2012, 'Interdisciplinarity and industry collaboration in doctoral candidature: tensions within and between discourses', Studies in Higher Education, vol. Online, pp. 1-14.

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