Media discourses of low carbon housing: The marginalisation of social and behavioural dimensions within the British broadsheet press

Catherine Cherry, Christina Hopfe, Brian MacGillivray, Nick Pidgeon

Decarbonising housing is a key UK government policy to mitigate climate change. Using discourse analysis, we assess how low carbon housing is portrayed within British broadsheet media. Three distinct storylines were identified. Dominating the discourse, Zero carbon housing promotes new-build, low carbon houses as offering high technology solutions to the climate problem. Retrofitting homes emphasises the need to reduce emissions within existing housing, tackling both climate change and rising fuel prices. A more marginal discourse, Sustainable living, frames low carbon houses as related to individual identities and ‘off-grid’ or greener lifestyles. Our analysis demonstrates that technical and economic paradigms dominate media discourse on low carbon housing, marginalising social and behavioural aspects.

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