Adoption and use of household microgeneration heat technologies

Caird, Sally and Roy, Robin (2010). Adoption and use of household microgeneration heat technologies. Low Carbon Economy, 1(2) pp. 61–70.



The development and rapid household adoption of smallscale, low and zero carbon microgeneration technologies are key elements of UK and EU strategies to meet the challenge of climate change. Microgeneration heat technologies, including solar thermal hot water, heat pumps and biomass heating systems, have an especially important role in reducing the carbon emissions from buildings. But despite government policies to promote microgeneration, adoption by UK householders is very slow. Surveys by the Open University and Energy Saving Trust examined why over 900 UK householders decided to adopt these technologies and why many do not. These surveys describe the niche market for microgeneration heat as largely confined to environmentally concerned, older, middleclass householders, mainly living in larger properties off the mains gas network. Although these pioneer adopters are generally highly satisfied, for microgeneration heat to expand beyond its market niche, several issues need to be addressed, including: price reductions and subsidies; independent information on the suitability, performance, payback and effective use of equipment; 'onestop' support from consideration to operation; improved system compatibility with smaller properties and existing buildings and heating systems; and more userfriendly and informative controls.

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