New paper: Energy audits in shipping companies

A paper long in the making was finally published this year, in the journal Transportation Research Part A – Policy and Practice.

The paper revolves around a key question I’ve been struggling with since starting out   my PhD 10 years ago – how to work with  the “organisational barriers” to energy efficiency that previous research largely left aside. From the perspective of people working in an organisation, what does it mean that there is an energy efficiency gap there? A stroke of luck led me to take an in-depth course in qualitative research methods for professor Barbara Czarniawska, which in turn took me on a long path to thoroughly read up on Scandinavian and European management and organisation studies. This paper is the result – an action-net perspective on energy efficiency in a shipping company.


An energy audit is a method for determining the most cost-effective measures that improve energy efficiency in an organisation. This article describes a longitudinal action-research case study of an energy audit performed in 2012 on a short-sea ship owner and operator and a follow-up study conducted three years later. The study showed that following the suggestions made in the audit would have had a significant economic impact but that few of the audit recommendations had been successfully implemented. An analysis of the qualitative and quantitative material collected during these two studies pointed in particular to the need to understand energy efficiency measures in their organisational context; many of the measures concerned redesigning organisational routines. It became obvious that more studies of practice are needed in order to evaluate policies and programmes aimed at achieving a transition to low carbon emissions in the maritime sector. Despite the failure of this particular audit, energy audits in shipping companies should be paid more attention because of their relative success in other sectors.

von Knorring, H. (2019). Energy audits in shipping companies. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 125, 35-55.


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