Introducing low carbon, sustainable heat systems will involve changes to both energy supply and demand, including energy efficiency measures and new technologies such as heat pumps, low carbon gas (hydrogen), and district heating systems. This project aims to generate new knowledge on public acceptance of future heating changes.

Other than hydrogen, each of the main options can be found adopted at scale in other countries (e.g. heat pumps in Nordic countries, district heating in France), raising the question of the social and technological conditions that have enabled uptake elsewhere while inhibiting current uptake in the UK?

The study has two phases:

  • a review of previous studies of public engagement with decarbonised heat, drawing upon UK and international experience as well as exploratory qualitative data analysis across some existing datasets;
  • a quantitative survey of the UK general public in the UK. We will include a decision pathway element in this survey(ref 1), exploring how different people choose between different options that are relevant to their heat ‘needs’ and ‘circumstances’.

Outcomes will be core survey data and analyses targeted to both UK and the devolved administrations and a heat case-study contribution to the UKERC Societal Engagement Observatory.

Reference 1: Gregory, R., Satterfield, T. & Hasell, A. (2016) Using decision pathway surveys to inform climate engineering policy choices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(3): 560-565.