Grannen vet bäst - Faktorer som påverkar hushållens val av energiformer

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In today’s society people are overwhelmed with information about different kinds of heating systems. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that impact households when they make decisions on heating systems, and also how households value different types of information on the subject.

Four Swedish municipalities were chosen for closer examination. Municipal energy advisors and representatives from the district heating providers have been interviewed, and focus groups have been held with district heating customers. Additionally, information materials from the district heating companies and articles about district heating in the local newspapers have been analyzed. The project is a part of the research program Fjärrsyn, which is financed by the Swedish District Heating Association and the Swedish Energy Agency.

The beginning of the report deals with previous research and theoretical perspectives. The theoretical perspective includes the interpretation of media texts, the effect of the media and its reliability, and decision making. The report then focuses on the analysis; arguments made for district heating, different types of fears and problems that may exist, how the information that is provided in the matter is designed and how it is valued. The results are also related to the dimensions of price and expansion, which were used when choosing municipalities.

The results show that interpersonal contacts (with friends, neighbors, colleagues and relatives) are the most important information sources when making decisions about heating systems, which previous studies also have shown. This may have to do with the fact that deciding to install a district heating system is a big decision which requires a significant
investment from the individual home owner. This highlights the need of having good customer relationships, since customers function as ambassadors for district heating.

Media coverage on district heating (and in a broader perspective also environmental and energy issues) in Sweden is according to the interviewed energy advisors and representatives from the district heating companies oversimplified. This makes for a less ideal situation when dealing with potential customers, especially if the reporting on district heating is negative. In this context it is important to note that people often view energy and environmental issues as complicated, and that the fields’ experts and researchers not always are in agreement, which leaves the media with the hard task of trying to report in simple terms without losing nuance.

The study has not shown any considerable dissimilarities between the various municipalities; relative price levels and expansion rates are not something that customers are particularly aware of. The so-called locked-in effect (which refers to the fact that customers only can choose one district heating provider per municipality) is mentioned by all of the
interviewed energy advisors and representatives from the district heating companies, and was also brought up in all the focus group sessions, with the exception of one municipality, where the district heating is provided by the local government owned district heating company(municipality B). The customers are worried about rising prices and believe that a lack of competition creates a situation where the district heating providers can do whatever they want. The question is if this worry impacts new potential customers in their decision about whether or not to install district heating. The fact that most of the interviewed customers are positive towards district heating is something worth noting. When comparing district heating to other heating systems customers mentioned (among other things) low prices, convenience and the fact that it is environmentally friendly, dependable, and that it takes up less space than other systems.
FörlagSvensk Fjärrvärme
Antal sidor74
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-7381-030-2
StatusPublished - 2009


NamnFjärrsyn rapport

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

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