Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Michael Mann


This paper addresses a pressing need to accelerate domestic energy policy that will lower the carbon footprint of Britain’s domestic sector. A systems approach was taken to seek empirical evidence for an inherent problem of a low adoption of government programs created to incentivize low-carbon domestic retrofit. The purpose of research is to explore this low uptake with the aim of fashioning effective programs. This paper is intended for policymakers and researchers with an interest in meeting the UK’s 2050 emissions targets.

Geopolitical and macroeconomic pressures on government may have hindered effective climate policy. Other financial interests may have influenced policy through endorsement of inefficient technologies for lowering emissions. Additionally, the war in Ukraine and a resulting energy crisis may affect solutions to these issues. These factors are presented as research questions and their effect on attitudes towards decarbonization are investigated.

A two-phase approach was taken to explore public attitudes and to observe interactions with other stakeholders. Firstly, quantitative data on the effectiveness of solar power in the UK (for both domestic panels and grid electricity) was discussed, under a subjective viewpoint, for its use to inform the UK public (and guide policymakers). Secondly, to then address a need for a “bottom-up” investigation of societal opinions on decarbonization, energy, and retrofit programs, a questionnaire was distributed to a sample population.

Phase 1 revealed that partial provision of scientific data may perpetuate public opinion in favor of PV and its incentivization by policymakers. Phase 2 unearthed socio-economic factors for programs such as grant amounts, and revealed socio-technical issues such as inadequate information on programs which, through technical miscomprehensions, are potentially abusable by energy system stakeholders with non-environmental agendas.

This study concludes with three areas for attention to address domestic decarbonization issues presented in this paper: Incentivizing the right technologies; streamlining incentive programs; and finding the “right” advisory bodies to both guide government policy and to nurture public involvement in energy processes. Finally, this study proposes capitalization on 2022 geopolitical events to leverage long-term public interest in sustainability through its connection with concerns for the reliability and affordability aspects of energy security.