Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

HOTHOUSE: Hot water provision in homes; consumption, storage and lifestyle.

Research Objectives

The research hypothesis is that lifestyles and desires shape the tasks undertaken by families in the home from which routines emerge. These routines utilise the service providing systems and appliances, which consume water and energy. Thus a routine generates a need for energy that varies in timing and magnitude throughout the day, the week and the year. Routines prevail at busy times in the home and this has a tendency to coincide in homes nationally, generating peak demands. This is of little consequence when there is large energy supply system and relatively inexpensive fuel, but as the energy landscape changes, through an increase in intermittent generation, energy at peak times will cost more, or may even not be available. This curtailment of service would be in conflict with the pressure to complete tasks in the home and will cause ‘stress’ in the way families wish to live their lives. The ‘stress’ on the provision of hot water consumption will occur around activities such as laundry, dishwashing, food preparation, bathing and cleaning activities, as these typically occur at times of peak demand. The extent of this ‘stress’ will affect traditional routines, or impact on the way technology are used to provide hot water, and this could either be beneficial, or detrimental to the goals of demand reduction and DSM. The addition of small-scale generation may also have an effect. These perceptions will be examined through the following aim and objectives.

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Aim: To evaluate these potential ‘stresses’ on hot water provision in future homes.

Objective 1: Develop a set of future scenarios with key stakeholders that describe hot water provision in family homes towards 2030 and 2050 in the context of changing lifestyles, heat generation and storage technology, appliance technology, small scale energy generation technology, and pressures on energy supply.

Objective 2: Use numerical modelling to quantify and evaluate the likely hot water provision ‘stresses’ on the family in each future scenario by examining the tensions around: the space needed for heat generation and storage equipment, cost, capacity, timing of heat generation and heat availability, and the need to complete hygiene and comfort routines.

Objective 3: To place these ‘stresses’ in the context of family routines and energy consumption to understand what this may mean for consequential changes in the routines of today as we transition into the future, taking into account how technology influences people and how consequential actions/reactions to new technology may affect hot water service efficiency.

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