Designing innovative and socially responsible heating systems


Eliminating natural gas use from the built environment and replacing it with sustainable heating systems is vital in reaching our CO2 reduction targets. However, critical stakeholders are reluctant towards accepting innovative heating systems. (Semi)public actors question whether the benefits can legitimate investments and end-users are hesitant towards (collective) systems that may inhibit their freedom of choice: fairness and acceptability play key roles. We study to what extent these concerns, particularly related to fairness, can be mitigated.
Scientifically, an empirical treatment of fairness and acceptability, and its translation to acceptable systems in the public-private domain, such as heating systems, is still lacking and we will address this gap. Public investors often base investment decisions on Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). However, current CBAs neglect and undervalue broader societal effects accruing from heating systems. We will address this issue by expanding CBA based on citizen economics. Finally, the design of socio-technical systems is often treated as two parallel technical and institutional designs, whereas an integrated design is warranted. We will address this research gap by using ‘urban commons’ as a framework to enhance systems engineering.
We anticipate the following deliverables:
A) a general theoretical framework for predicting fairness-based acceptability of public-private systems
B) an improved CBA method based on citizen economics
C) a theoretical framework and dashboard that allows for analysis of acceptable socio-technical heating systems designs.
D) insight into how heating systems’ acceptability can be positively influenced by involving end-users and stakeholders in CBA-light design and evaluation sessions and in dashboard simulation sessions.





Prof. dr. ir. P.M. Herder

Verbonden aan

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Techniek, Bestuur en Management, Energie en Industrie


J. Fouladvand MSc, C. Hajjar MA, M. Pentecost MPhil


01/07/2017 tot 28/02/2021