Acceptable design for heating systems
Because of the many issues surrounding natural gas, which is currently used to heat buildings, new heating systems will have to be designed to sustainably heat buildings in the future. This project will establish guidelines for the design of socially responsible, sustainable heating systems that can count on broad public support.
Far-reaching decisions will have to be made in the coming decade on systems to heat homes, offices and other buildings in the Netherlands. At present, the built environment in the Netherlands is still predominantly heated with natural gas, but the extraction of natural gas leads to safety risks in Groningen and burning gas generates CO2 emissions harmful to the climate.
New technologies are being introduced to heat the built environment in a more sustainable manner. Examples include the use of geothermal energy and residual heat from industry and wastewater treatment, but end-users and other stakeholders do not always find these alternative heating technologies acceptable. A common objection is that homeowners who use gas can switch to another provider far more easily, while this is not the case for many of the new technologies. What’s more, the collective nature of the network and operating costs can evoke a sense of injustice.
Costs and benefits
Because of these concerns, public and semi-public authorities are unsure whether they should invest in the new heating system. Will the investment costs be recouped and will the new technologies be accepted and actually used? Do the social benefits offset the social costs? These issues emphasise the importance of knowledge about the factors that influence the acceptance of new heating technologies. This project will investigate these factors and examine whether public support can be increased by designing more equitable heating systems, both in terms of technical aspects and socio-ethical and institutional aspects. The research will also look at the division of responsibilities between the relevant authorities.
The research team aims to achieve the following (theoretical and practical) innovations through this research project:
- a theoretical framework for the impact of technical, individual and institutional factors on the acceptance of public-private systems;
- a more comprehensive social cost-benefit analysis (SCBA), including acceptance by citizens;
- a dashboard through which decision-makers can simulate and analyse, for different local situations, which combinations of technologies and division of responsibilities between relevant authorities is acceptable to end users and other stakeholders;
- an approach aimed at increasing the acceptance of new heating systems among this group by involving them in (SCBA) design sessions.
energy transition, energy system, heating systems, cost-benefit analysisOfficial project title: