Photo of Helena Köhler

Helena Köhler

Faculty Programme Director

The research focuses on the question: What makes us use less water and energy in our homes? Also teaching geography, the overarching aim for both undertakings is to disclose the interaction between nature and society. 

Large technical systems in households – visualizing and understanding the consumption of water and energy as socio-technical processes. 

A sustainable society requires, inter alia, that households reduce their use of water and energy, goods or services supplied to households via large technical systems. The project studies, from a user perspective, the relationship between users and systems in a time when the systems change to become more diverse. 

Of special interest is the introduction of individual metering and debiting (IMD) of hot water in rented flats. IMD is considered as an important means to encourage households to reduce their water and energy usage. Many studies support this assumption, but also report shifting results in terms of actual savings. Most studies are done on an aggregated level and it is unclear exactly what is behind the changed usage - it is the habits themselves that have changed or may it be explained by other changes such as the installation of water-saving technology or high-consuming households moving from the area? The varying results may also depend on contextual factors surrounding the introduction of IMD, something that previous research does not handle as much but are also important to identify. 

Qualitative long-term studies of household everyday water use

The present project is a qualitative, partly longitudinal study of household water habits in connection with the introduction of IMD and conducted with the help of time-diaries, interviews, observations and measurement data. The analysis is based on time-geographical concepts, and special emphasis is placed on household specific resources and constrains for changed consumption; what resources, in a broad sense, do households need to understand the ongoing changes and to act accordingly with them? 




  • 2005
    PhD, Water and Environmental Studies. Thesis title: Matter that matters. A study of household routines in a process of changing water and sanitation arrangements.
  • 2000 
    Master of Arts, Geography, Linköpings universitet

Energy efficient dwellings – space for everyday life

Most are aware of the necessity that all of us save energy to contribute the fulfillment of Swedish and European environmental goals. The project “Energy efficient dwellings – space for everyday life” is about how this can be achieved in practice. It is a collaboration project between Tema Technology and Social Change at Linköping University and Stångåstaden AB (a public housing company) and is a result of a LiU Fundraising campaign. The aim is to enhance the knowledge about how relatively simple measures can improve the energy efficiency in dwellings.