Don't lock me in: Public opinion on the prospective use of waste process heat for district heating

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    While the available resource in terms of waste process heat in the UK is substantial, there are a wide variety of issues to consider and barriers to overcome in order to realise its potential. This paper discusses one particular factor, namely public opinion. We describe the results of two focus groups with a potential domestic client group, namely elderly people, and the postal questionnaire responses of 323 individuals living in the proximity of a large potential heat source, namely the Corus steel-works in Port Talbot, Wales. While those questioned were broadly supportive of the idea of district heating, particularly if this would involve reductions in domestic heating costs, both the qualitative and quantitative work revealed significant concern about contractual lock-in. In contrast, the stability of long-term demand is highly valued by those responsible for the supply-side. We also observe some gender differences in first reactions to district heating and the role of environmental commitment. We conclude that while the results imply that an appeal to the environmental performance of district heating with waste heat may facilitate acceptance, trust-building and price inducements will also be required to overcome end-user concerns.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-29
    Number of pages8
    JournalApplied Energy
    Issue number0
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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