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EfS Experiences | Student | Marta Lopes

Publication date: 18-11-2013 16:05


I entered the Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) Doctoral Programme promoted by the EfS Initiative of the University of Coimbra in 2010/11.

As an environmental engineer I have always addressed environmental problems from an integrated perspective. From what I have learned throughout the years, environmental problems are usually caused by multiple intertwined factors that must be addressed simultaneously and preferably in a preventive manner. Bringing together expertise from multiple areas, faculties and sectors of activity, the EfS Initiative was the perfect medium for exploring my comprehensive vision of reality.

My professional experience as an assistant lecturer at the Environmental Department of the Agriculture College of Coimbra (IPC-ESAC) and as an independent energy efficiency consultant rose my interest in the relationship between climate change and energy use. In my PhD research I explore the influence of energy behaviours on energy efficiency, by developing a behaviour modelling approach. Being a complex topic, it requires the involvement of a multidisciplinary team which, in the scope of the EfS - SES Doctoral Programme, it was easy to achieve. Hence, I have the privilege to work and learn with engineers, sociologists and psychologists, as well as with researchers and practitioners from the industry and energy service companies.

Even though this is still an on-going project, preliminary results suggest important clues for behavioural change programmes which may contribute to more effective energy policies. From a personal point of view, this experience has been challenging but also very rewarding, since gathering professionals from several fields has brought fresh ideas, insights and new potential lines of research.