Within the UK, space heating accounts for 66% of the total domestic energy used. New heating controls may offer a means to reduce this figure and help meet the UK s target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However these technologies will only save energy if occupants are able to use them effectively. Currently, little is known about how occupants interact with their heating systems, in particular how they use the heating within their home and the reasons behind why it is used a specific way. To investigate further, this thesis presents research which used both qualitative and quantitative methods over two separate studies to uncover why and how households heat their homes and how people use their heating system following the installation of new heating controls.
The results identify key drivers which impact how people heat their homes and highlight numerous issues preventing them from using their heating how they wish to. A taxonomy of heating use is presented based on the factors influencing heating use in homes and how those factors impact the use and control of the heating system. Occupants use of new heating controls over a ten month period is presented. Manual interaction with controls is separated from programmed heating schedules showing increased manual use over winter and a reliance on heating schedules during shoulder months. The analysis of measured heating use showed similar findings to larger scale studies, however the demanded set-point temperatures were varied and occupants regularly changed heating schedules throughout winter, indicating some of this complexity may be lost by studies inferring heating use patterns from internal temperature measurements alone.
The research presented within this thesis is novel, in developing heating characters based on the factors which influence occupants heating behaviours, by presenting measured heating use, which included measured set-point temperatures, heating schedules and heating use duration. The thesis also presented the complexity of heating use within homes uncovered through use of mixed methods.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.