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A Middle-Out Approach for Improving Energy Performance in Buildings

Citation Janda, K.B. and Parag, Y. A Middle-Out Approach for Improving Energy Performance in Buildings. 2013. https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2013.743396.
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Author(s) Janda, K.B. and Parag, Y.
Opus Title Building Research & Information
Pages 39-50
Volume 41
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2013.743396

A middle-out perspective is used to investigate potential roles for professionals and practitioners in creating societal change. Social and technological innovations are commonly seen as either being induced from the top-down or evolving from the bottom-up. Instead, a middle-out perspective focuses on agents of change that are located in the middle, between the top and the bottom. This perspective shows that middle actors can affect change in several different directions: upstream, downstream and sideways. By linking the top and bottom more explicitly, this approach is both an alternative and complementary to bottom-up and top-down efforts to implementing low-carbon innovations and practices in society. One particular kind of middle in the built environment is explored: the role of building professionals to encourage (or discourage) societal change. Focusing on the demand side of the energy system, case studies of building professionals in the domestic and non-domestic sectors are used to emphasize the qualities of these middle agents as enablers/disablers, mediators and aggregators. Policy implications from the middle-out perspective are drawn, and comments on the near and long-term relationship between building professions and building performance are made.