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The preferences of social tenants regarding the willingness to participate in the transition towards natural gas-free heating systems.

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Last Updated: 7-2021

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The energy transition towards non-natural gas-fired heating systems is part of the climate goals the Dutch government has stated in the Climate and Energy Agreement, in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. As the housing associations own one-third of the Dutch housing stock, they are assigned to kickstart this transition. This research study enriches already existing literature regarding the preferences of tenants of social housing in relation to the willingness to participate in natural gas-free renovation projects. These preferences can be used in order to increase the willingness to participate in natural gas-free renovation projects. To estimate the tenants’ preferences regarding the motivators and barriers, a Stated Choice Experiment was conducted. The analyses were conducted with the aid of a Multinomial Logit model and a Latent Class model, whereby the first showed that housing costs, comfort and nuisance were the most important characteristics, related to the three goal-frames. A Latent Class model was conducted in order to relax the strong assumptions of the Multinomial Logit model. Additionally, the Latent Class model aimed to estimate a model with a better McFadden’s Rho² adjusted in comparison to the Multinomial Logit model and to determine different classes of tenants with different preference regarding the natural gas-free decision-making process. The Latent Class model provided evidence that tenants with a higher willingness to pay, who receive no rent allowance and lived in their dwelling for longer than one year, more often belong to class one. This class had a more positive relation towards natural gas-free renovation projects in comparison to class two. Additionally, class one was more influenced by comfort, whereas class two was mainly influenced by housing costs. From the analyses it can be concluded that the renovation characteristics are more important in comparison to the socio-demographics of a tenant, as the attributes account for about three-quarters of the relative importance in all analyses. From these analyses it can be concluded that the gain goal is the focal goal, with the housing costs as the main attribute. This is closely followed by the hedonic goal, with the characteristics comfort and nuisance. For some tenants comfort can even be as important as the housing costs. As such, it is recommended for housing associations to create balanced renovation packages which increase the comfort and decrease the housing cost, without increased levels of nuisance, in order to motivate tenants to participate in the natural gas-free renovation project.

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