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Demanding expectations: exploring the experience of distributed heat generation in Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Open Access Status

  • Embargoed (until 13/11/21)


In this study, we advance thinking around microgeneration for heat, moving debates on from issues of adoption and performance to bring richer and more sophisticated understandings of how and why households install and live with renewable energy technologies. We draw on a study with 32 households in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, presenting qualitative data collected through an online photo journal to provide insights on the subjective experience of microgeneration for heat technology. We identified a tension between the installation and operational phases of microgeneration for heat systems highlighting that routine, daily domestic practices were at least, if not more, important than the building fabric when seeking to deliver energy savings. This tension was common to both United Kingdom and Dutch households and all microgeneration for heat types, although more pronounced for those with biomass systems. We also explore how householders’ ideas of the future impact on the use of and demand for microgeneration for heat systems; with United Kingdom participants more likely to anticipate greater demand and have systems they felt were ‘over capacity’. We argue that householders’ perspectives, particularly in relation to expectations around future energy demand, are generally overlooked in renewable energy research.


Original languageEnglish
Article number101821
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Early online date13 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

    Research areas

  • Microgeneration, Energy demand, Domestic practices, Home, Online journal, UK, Netherlands

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