Energy Transition in the Built Environment Participation and Preferences of Social Housing Tenants

EngD trainee Taanis Karigar
Project Energy Transition in the Built Environment Participation and Preferences of Social Housing Tenants
University supervisor dr. Ioulia Ossokina
Company supervisor Marcel Copier
Name of company Woonbedrijf
Period of project June 2020 – May 2022


Sustainable living has been one of the most important concepts on the political and societal agendas in many countries. Following the Paris Agreement in 2015, more and more countries have been pushing toward a sustainable built environment in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Energy transition in the existing dwellings offers opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a national, European and global scale. In the Netherlands, the social housing sector counting 2.3 million homes, accounts for about 31% of the total housing stock (Filippidou et al., 2014). However, in order to carry out the renovation measures there, it is required by law for the housing associations to receive consent from 70% of the tenants. This gives the tenants room to negotiate with the housing association (Hoppe & Lulofs, 2008) and also allows them to express their needs and preferences concerning retrofitting. The tenant participatory models are becoming an increasingly important subject of research as they allow to better adjust services towards the needs and preferences of tenants and obtain the necessary 70% support (Suszyńska, 2015). In this context, there are two challenges. The first is getting a clear understanding of the needs and preferences of the tenants, taking into account that these might differ by group. The second is building the right decision support tools in order to have an effective participation process in place that allows maximizing support for renovations. In this project, we constructed a digital decision support tool that can do both: facilitate increased participation of tenants while at the same time revealing insights on preferences of social housing tenants with regards to energy renovation measures. This project was done for and in collaboration with the largest housing association in Eindhoven, Woonbedrijf, owning around 30,000 dwellings. The project took place with financial support from the MMIP 3 &4 grant of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Interior and within the professional doctorate in engineering (PDEng) program of Eindhoven University of Technology. Through this PDeng Project, we achieved the following objectives. First and foremost, our project, demonstrated the use of stated choice experiment methodology to improve the early stage customer journey to energy retrofitting for both the housing associations and their tenants. Secondly, we saw that encouraging tenants to think about different financial situations related to current energy scenarios led to better participation in the choice game and indicated an improved preference for opting for renovations when compared to not opting to renovate. Thirdly, based on a socio-groups preference for energy renovation we classified them into renovation averse and renovation friendly groups. We saw that tenants who are older adults ( age > 65 ) and satisfied with their dwellings are more likely to belong to renovation averse social groups and tenants who are highly educated or suffering with drafts in their dwellings or have a high trust in housing association are more likely to belong to renovation friendly social groups. Next, we use latent class analysis to establish classes or segments of respondents based on their preferences for energy efficient renovations. In our research we found two classes, the first was cost focused and the other one was feature focused. Lastly, we developed and implemented the design of a web application that can be used to produce interactive estimations of probability of acceptance of an energy renovation package and compare different energy renovation packages. This web application can serve as a decision support tool for housing associations to reveal insights on preferences of their tenants’ on energy efficient renovations and the probability of acceptance for energy efficient renovation packages.