Homeowners' preferences for adopting innovative residential heating systems: A discrete choice analysis for Germany
Space heating accounts for a large fraction of the primary energy consumption and CO2 emissions of residential buildings in Germany. Besides targeting the insulation standard, innovative (i.e. renewable energies-based and/or energy-efficient) residential heating systems (RHS) offer the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from space heating. Therefore, understanding the determinants of the RHS adoption decision becomes increasingly important. In this paper, we analyze the influence of preferences about RHS-specific attributes on the homeowners' adoption decision. Moreover, we control for the influence of socio-demographic, home and spatial characteristics. To this end, we specify the discrete appliance choice by a multinomial logit model and apply it to representative survey data for Germany. Our findings show that there are different drivers for the adoption of innovative RHS (partly) based on renewable energies in newly built and existing 1- and 2-family homes, and that the importance of key drivers also differs across groups of homeowners and RHS, respectively. First, we find that adopters of a gas- and oil-fired condensing boiler with solar thermal support have a strong preference for energy savings, while adopters of a heat pump or wood pellet-fired boiler prefer being more independent from fossil fuels. Second, we find that owners of existing homes have less scope for preferences in the RHS adoption decision. The decision to replace a RHS in an existing home is rather driven by socio-demographic, home and spatial characteristics. Third, our findings are quite contrary for newly built homes. Here, preferences about RHS specific attributes are found to be highly relevant, while there is less evidence for an influence of socio-demographic, home and spatial characteristics on the adoption decision.
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