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  4. Carbon Saving through Commercialisation of Domestic Micro-Generation Technologies

Carbon Saving through Commercialisation of Domestic Micro-Generation Technologies


Robin Roy, The Open University
Sally Caird
Stephen Potter


Derek Taylor, Karen Yarrow

Energy Saving Trust

Simon Green, Jennie Abelman, Rosalyn Dungate


A six month scoping project from March to September 2007 in collaboration with the Energy Saving Trust, funded via a £50,000 grant from the Higher Education Innovation Fund's 'Carbon Connections' programme administered by the University of East Anglia.

A £180k OU/EST follow-up project to conduct detailed technical and user evaluations of heat pumps and to transfer findings to industry was submitted to Carbon Connections in October 2007.

Summary and aims

The purpose of this project is to get a consumer and user perspective on the adoption and non-adoption of low and zero carbon heat technologies. The study has conducted preliminary technical and user evaluations of solar water heating, heat pumps and biomass stoves and boilers.

The main outputs were:

  • A review of performance monitoring studies of low and zero carbon (LZC) heat technologies which identified heat pumps as the technology most urgently requiring technical monitoring and user evaluation to establish their potential for reducing UK carbon emissions and to develop accreditation standards.
  • online surveys via the EST and BBC/OU websites, with responses from UK householders considering, rejecting, adopting, and using solar thermal hot water systems, ground source heat pumps, wood boilers and biomass stoves. The respondents were 535 householders visiting the the EST website and 554 successful applicants for Low Carbon Building Programme government grants. This has provided the most comprehensive data so far available on the UK market for low and zero carbon heat technologies; the factors influencing household consideration, adoption and rejection; and users' feedback on the technologies, which can help develop product development, marketing and evidence-based government support strategies to help achieve widespread adoption.


Caird, S and Roy, R. (2011) Yes in my back yard: UK householders pioneering microgeneration heat, Chapter 14 in Devine-Wright, P. (ed.) Renewable Energy and the Public, London: Earthscan, pp. 203-219. ISBN: 978-1-84407-863-9

Caird, S. and Roy, R. (2010) Adoption and use of household microgeneration heat technologies, Low Carbon Economy, Vol. 1, No.2 December, pp. 61-70 DOI: 10.4236/lce.2010.12008 Available from:

Roy, R. and Caird, S. (2008) Who adopts micro-heating technologies? Green Building, Vol. 18 No. 2, Autumn, pp. 44-47.

Roy, R., Caird S., and Abelman, J. (2008) YIMBY generation. Yes in my back yard! UK householders pioneering microgeneration heat, The Energy Saving Trust, London, June.


Prof Robin Roy,

Contact us

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502