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Sustainability in the UK domestic sector: A review and analysis of the sustainable energy innovations available to homeowners
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Energy Systems.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The UK Government has set an ambitious legislative goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 % by 2050. Of the total energy used in the UK, 31 % is used in the domestic sector. In the domestic sector energy is used for space and hot water heating, lighting, appliances and cooking. Space and hot water heating make up 82 % of the total energy used in the UK domestic sector. Almost all of the energy used in the UK domestic sector originates from depletable resources. In order for the UK to reach its goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 % by 2050, the way energy is used in the UK domestic sector needs to change dramatically. The aim of this study is to identify opportunities for homeowners to be more sustainable without compromising their standard of living, by changing the way they use and supply energy. Homeowners’ ways of using and supplying energy today will be reviewed followed by an identification of measures that can be taken to create a more sustainable home from an energy perspective. Identified measures not only include usage of small-scale energy technologies but also application of energy efficiency measures and changes in behaviour that result in homeowners using energy in a more efficient way.


The aim has been achieved by conducting a literature review, collecting statistical data regarding energy use from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the undertaking of a case study. The literature review revealed that air source and solar assisted heat pumps, solar photovoltaic (solar PV) and fuel cell micro combined heat and power (fuel cell mCHP) are the most promising and widely available microgeneration technologies on the market today. LED light bulbs, wall and loft insulation and energy efficient appliances are the energy efficiency measures identified as having the highest potential to decrease the amount of energy used. The literature review also proved that behaviour in relation to energy use is a key area to address in order to make homeowners use energy in a more efficient way.


The case study consisted of six case houses, based on the most common house types in the UK. The reference heating system used in the case study was a gas boiler connected to a central heating system of the house. 80 % of the homes in the UK are heated with a gas boiler and that is why it was chosen as a reference scenario. The case study showed that all of the microgeneration technologies use resources and energy in a more efficient way than the reference scenario. But despite the financial support of governmental subsidies none of the microgeneration technologies were financially viable options compared to a gas boiler. Energy efficiency measures, especially LED lighting, wall and loft insulation, significantly lowered the amount of energy used, they lowered the influence on greenhouse gas emissions and were financially viable options without the support of governmental subsidies.


It was identified that microgeneration technologies are impacted by behaviour and that they can enable demand-side management, especially as the number of supply-driven sources such as wind and solar PV increases.


In summation microgeneration technologies and energy efficiency measures have a large potential to help make homeowners become more sustainable from an energy perspective. Governmental support has a determining role in making them financially viable and therefore accessible to the public. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
sustainability, heating, microgeneration technologies, energy efficiency, energy use, UK
National Category
Energy Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119139ISRN: LIU-IEI-TEK-A--15/02145--SEOAI: diva2:819290
External cooperation
ASC Renewables, Manchester, UK
Subject / course
Energy Systems
Available from: 2015-09-23 Created: 2015-06-10 Last updated: 2015-09-23Bibliographically approved

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