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Title: Recurrent Mobility: Urban Conduits for Diffusion of Energy Efficiency

Recent advances in energy technologies, policies, and practices have accelerated the global rate of improvements in energy efficiency, bringing the energy targets identified in the 2030 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Agenda within reach. However, Target 7.3 requires this rate to double by 2030, demanding a more substantial response to energy interventions. At present, energy interventions are failing to reach optimal levels of adoption in buildings, which are the largest urban energy consumers. This is due to a combination of direct and indirect effects generally referred to as the energy efficiency gap. Here, we compare over 18.8 million positional records of individuals against Greater London’s buildings energy consumption records over the course of one year. We demonstrate that indirect (i.e., spillover) effects, arising fromrecurrent mobility, govern the diffusion of urban buildings’ energy efficiency, far outpacing direct effects. This has been understood as a consequence of underlying spatiotemporal dependencies at the intersection of energy use and social interactions. We add to this the critical role of recurrent mobility (i.e., the mobility of those urban populations who repeatedly visit certain locations, such as home and work) as a diffusion conduit. These findings suggest that in order to improve the current levels of adoption, interventions must target times and locations that function as dense hubs of energy consumption and social interactions. Recurrent mobility thus provides a viable complement to existing targeted intervention approaches aimed at improving energy efficiency, supporting efforts to meet the UN’s 2030 energy targets.

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Nature Publishing Group
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Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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