Towards a just heat transition in the building sector: A study on social indicators of sustainability

Mahammad Hosein Abbasi, Badr Abdullah, Raul Castano De la Rosa, Muhammad Waseem Ahmad, Ali Rostami, Jeff Cullen

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Heating in UK buildings is dominated by fossil fuels as the main energy source, representing over 80% of the household energy consumption and 79% of the carbon emissions. Therefore, heat decarbonisation in this sector should be accelerated in order to achieve the 2050 net zero carbon targets. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding the social impacts of heat decarbonisation strategies on households and the communities. The multiplicity of social criteria and inconsistency of their measuring methods complicate the assessment of social sustainability in the energy systems, leading to less incorporation of the social factors in design and decision-making processes. Therefore, identifying a set of indicators that represent the social performance of energy systems is an essential for conducting a holistic sustainability assessment. In this research, a methodological process is established primarily aimed to identify, select, and prioritise a representative set of indicators that can reflect the social sustainability of the heating transition in the building industry. The research accounts for a qualitative survey and judgments of experts to determine the indicators and their importance weights thus reducing the subjectivity and uncertainties of the process. The result is a social sustainability assessment framework that will enable decision-makers to evaluate the transition pathways, select the best alternatives, and monitor their performance, by analysing social indicators in conjunction with other sustainability parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100092
Number of pages6
JournalScience talks
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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