The Living Lab methodology for complex environments: Insights from the thermal refurbishment of a historical district in the city of Cahors, France - INSA Toulouse - Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Toulouse Access content directly
Journal Articles Energy Research & Social Science Year : 2017

The Living Lab methodology for complex environments: Insights from the thermal refurbishment of a historical district in the city of Cahors, France

Abstract

The city centre of Cahors (southwest of France) is recognized as a historical heritage site and, like other city centres in Europe, it faces the complex challenge of the thermal retrofitting of old dwellings. This complexity is partly explained by the relative incompatibility of the French energy performance certificate with the retrofitting of old buildings, and by the frequent conflicts between heritage conservation policies and energy efficiency improvements. Today, the level of deterioration and the high vacancy rate of the dwellings, combined with the fuel poverty of their occupants has created an urgent need for an energy retrofit. In order to respond to this set of problems, the city council of Cahors has initiated the "Living Lab" approach, an original idea. The methodology, participants, objectives and obstacles of which are presented in this paper. Living Labs have emerged as a new research concept in which users, traditionally considered as observed subjects and end clients, become co-creators of the innovation process. As opposed to classical approaches, which may fail due to the contradictions among political, ecological, socioeconomic and technological interests, the user centred approach allows the emergence of a sustainable answer in a complex eco-system in a real life context. The first result of this study was the success associated with involving many participants - craftsmen, students, end-users, local authorities, material producers which enabled an efficient and acceptable solution to be found for refurbishment. Another issue was the improvement of both energy efficiency and hydrothermal indoor comfort for the end-users. Longer term results will be the reduction of fuel poverty for occupants, and a city centre that is alive and enjoyable to live in again. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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hal-01847547 , version 1 (23-07-2018)

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Sophie Claude, Stéphane Ginestet, Marion Bonhomme, Nicolas Moulene, Gilles Escadeillas. The Living Lab methodology for complex environments: Insights from the thermal refurbishment of a historical district in the city of Cahors, France. Energy Research & Social Science, 2017, 32, pp.121--130. ⟨10.1016/j.erss.2017.01.018⟩. ⟨hal-01847547⟩
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