This report for the CCC by Madano and Element Energy assesses the public acceptability of two alternative low-carbon technologies for heating the home: hydrogen heating and heat pumps.
These technologies could potentially replace natural gas in many UK households as part of the government’s efforts to decrease carbon emissions in the UK.
The report’s key findings are:
- carbon emissions reduction is viewed as an important issue, but there is limited awareness of the need to decarbonise household heating or the implications of switching over to low-carbon heating technologies
- acceptability of both heating technologies is limited by a lack of perceived tangible consumer benefit, which has the potential to drive scepticism towards the switch over more generally
- heating technology preferences are not fixed at this stage, although heat pumps appear to be the favoured option in this research study
- three overarching factors were identified as influencing preferences for heating technologies. These factors manifested differently for different people, meaning that the same factor could lead one person to prefer heat pumps and another to prefer hydrogen, depending on their overall heating preferences and understanding of the two technologies. The factors are:
- perceptions of the negative installation burden
- familiarity with the lived experience of using the technologies for heating
- perceptions of how well the technologies would meet modern heating needs
- both hydrogen heating and heat pumps face significant challenges to secure public acceptability