Human dimensions

Human Dimensions
Human dimensions of energy systems are a focus of IESVic.

Energy system transformations are shaped by social and political dynamics. Policies to induce desired changes are subject to social mandate. There are options which address the carbon and climate challenge, but are they broadly acceptable to the communities they impact? How do we shape short-term decisions of today that have long-term benefits? These are only a few of the research questions influencing sustainable energy systems. The Environmental, Social and Personality Laboratory is focusing on this research topic.


Environmental psychology considers the relationship between the environmental and human behavior. Motivating individuals and organizations to act on climate change is a complex problem, but vital for collective response. Research aimed at developing of tools for objectively measuring individual differences is needed to understand and develop behaviour-change strategies.

Energy justice

Energy justice is a cross-cutting research area applying principles of justice to energy systems issues. This topic considers process and how energy systems change benefits and impacts various actors. Issues such as “fuel poverty”, vulnerability, cost-burden of energy systems are being explored to determine what factors may impact actions relating to sustainability.


Policy is one of the main levers for enacting energy system transformation. The social benefits of balancing carbon in the atmosphere are a driving force behind costing and capping emissions, and creating carbon targets. The effectiveness of policy is tested in models to estimate the value and costs.

Social license

The development of technologies, their application, and the use of policy to guide outcomes for public good are all subject to some level of acceptance by society. How is this acceptance formed? Who influences it? What factors can change social acceptance. Who defines social norms?

Lead researchers