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Public perceptions of heat decarbonization in Great Britain

Becker, Sarah ORCID:, Demski, Christina ORCID:, Smith, William and Pidgeon, Nick ORCID: 2023. Public perceptions of heat decarbonization in Great Britain. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment 12 (6) , e492. 10.1002/wene.492

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Heating contributes significant carbon emissions, especially in countries that rely heavily on natural gas as in the UK. Switching to low‐carbon heating is imperative for reaching international climate change targets. Understanding public perceptions and acceptance of low‐carbon heating systems is a crucial part of the successful rollout of alternatives. This review examines public perceptions of different low‐carbon heating technologies, namely heat pumps, hydrogen boilers, hybrid heating systems, and district heating, as well as social factors such as heat experiences. The review focuses on the UK as a case study, which is characterized by high reliance on natural gas for heating with little progress to decarbonize this sector to date. The next years will be critical regarding decision‐making on what low‐carbon heating technologies to pursue. The review shows there is generally low awareness amongst the general public of the need to decarbonize heating and of the low‐carbon heating alternatives. A number of factors have been identified as playing a crucial role in influencing public perceptions of all low‐carbon heating systems, such as installation and running cost, thermal comfort, disruption, level of control, and environmental benefits. However, the acceptance of a new heating system is not simply the sum of several factors, as people's priorities vary across different contexts and technologies. Further public engagement on low‐carbon heating and support (e.g., financial) is necessary for increasing uptake. Future research could explore comparisons between the different low‐carbon heating technologies, key enabling factors, trade‐offs, and concrete policy support. This article is categorized under: Climate and Environment > Net Zero Planning and Decarbonization Policy and Economics > Energy Transitions Human and Social Dimensions > Social Acceptance

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 2041-8396
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 July 2023
Date of Acceptance: 20 June 2023
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2023 14:38

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