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Reducing carbon, tackling fuel poverty: adoption and performance of air-source heat pumps in East Yorkshire, UK


Deploying heating technologies, such as air-source heat pumps (ASHPs), can respond to the dual challenges of tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions from domestic energy consumption. In the UK, ASHP performance has been found to be below design levels. Elements of three strands of literature – innovation diffusion, environmental psychology and neighbourhood effects – are combined to gain insights into why the adoption and performance of ASHPs are lagging policy targets and design potential. Evidence from users, installers and area-based scheme facilitators suggests that the perceived complexity of the technology is a barrier. The level of technology maturity and the typical profile of the elderly fuel poor do not match; the target group might prefer to be late adopters or laggards in adopting technology. The role of installers is critical as the disruption from installation is a barrier to adoption and ASHPs place demands on users to change existing practices.