How installers select and explain domestic heating controls

Faye Wade, Michelle Shipworth, Russell Hitchings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Though central heating controls have the potential to reduce the energy consumed through domestic space heating, their installation does not guarantee savings. End users do not always understand their controls, or operate them in an energy-efficient way, but there is little appreciation of why this is. Drawing on an ethnographic study, this paper investigates how installers select and explain central heating controls. With reference to the concept of technology scripting, which suggests that the assumptions made about users during the design of devices can influence their eventual use, it shows how heating installers also draw on certain user scripts. Through these means the paper illuminates the significant role that heating installers play in influencing the control products fitted into homes, and how they might be used. Though their use of these scripts is understandable, it is not always conducive to ensuring that central heating systems are operated in the most energy-efficient way. It is suggested that industry and policy-makers might engage with how installers understand users and revise current guidelines to foster better communication between them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-383
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number4
Early online date1 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • control systems
  • energy demand
  • heating
  • installer
  • socio-technical
  • space heating


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