Panel 1. Dynamics of consumption: less is more?

The provision of clean and affordable energy is key to economic development and our quality of life. Energy services are entangled with almost every aspect of everyday life, from preparing meals, to getting around, and ensuring several production processes. Providing adequate energy services is critical for ensuring a decent life and addressing energy poverty, yet unbridled energy use relies mostly on non-renewable resources that are unevenly distributed and main contributors to the current climate crisis. The recent IPCC reports put extra pressure on limiting energy consumption, posing the question: how to reduce demand globally while ensuring quality of life? This year’s theme focuses on the opportunities for ‘less is more’ forms of energy consumption, exploiting the interplay between energy use and wellbeing. Reducing energy demand may require disruptive sociotechnical changes and the recent global events (e.g., pandemic, climate events) can provide insights on how changes in energy usage could be better induced. We also welcome contributions on how to ‘fast forward’ to reduce and limit energy usage and increase wellbeing, through the amplification of existing or introduction of new initiatives, new assessments, and policy recommendations, through collaborative and systemic work involving citizens, the industry, academia and policy makers. Acknowledging the challenges of developing collaborative multidisciplinary work, we also look for experiences for working better with each other in research, policy, and practice 

Panel 1 welcomes contributions on topics such as: 

  • How does energy use relate to wellbeing? How can this relationship be qualified and quantified? What can policy implications be derived from such analysis? 
  • What is necessary for ‘fast forwarding’ energy demand limitation while ensuring wellbeing? 
  • In what way can energy commons and social justice play a role when aiming for ‘less is more’ energy consumption? 
  • What can we learn from global changes (e.g., pandemic, climate events) and real-world experiments to reduce or limit energy demand? How can we make these learnings durable? 
  • What systems of provision and actors must be brought into the picture, and in what way? And how can we work better with each other? 
  • How to ensure a fair social distribution of energy in a context in which the world's population can rise from 8 to 11 billion over this century, increasing the pressure on consumption? 

Panel leaders

Ruth Mourik

Ruth Mourik, DuneWorks, The Netherlands 

Ruth Mourik aims to contribute to a more sustainable world, in particular a more sustainable energy demand and supply system. A world where end-users are more involved (and sooner) in decisions impacting their lives. This means Ruth works on sustainability projects, open innovation, co-creation, multiple value creation, new business models, changing behaviour, practices and lifestyles, societal acceptance of new technologies.

Ruth has Masters in Anthropology, Sociology, and Society and Technology Studies (STS), and holds a PhD in systemic technological and societal transitions. Previous employers include Maastricht University, Eindhoven Technical University and the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). In 2010 Ruth founded DuneWorks ( ). Duneworks is private research company.

Marta Lopes

Marta Lopes, Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal

Marta Lopes, PhD is an assistant professor with the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra – Agriculture College (ESAC) and a researcher with the Institute for Systems Engineering and Computers at Coimbra (INESC Coimbra), Portugal. Her research interests are focused on the human role in sustainable energy systems, particularly by integrating engineering and social sciences into multidisciplinary approaches.


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