Investigation on Cogeneration System Acceptance in the Hong Kong Hotel Industry


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Awarding Institution
Award date10 Aug 2022


The advanced industrial development and world population growth have led to a remarkable increase of energy consumption in the past decades. As a result, the consumption of fossil fuel and the emission of greenhouse gas will be substantially ascended to deteriorate global warming and ozone depletion problems, becoming a main global concern. The hotel industry is a crucial part of the service industry to serve customers who need temporary accommodation. Hotels have been considered one type of service buildings consuming an enormous amount of energy. Cogeneration systems are considered suitable for the hotel industry because these systems can generate power and meanwhile provide sufficient thermal energy for hotel services, such as hot water supply and space heating.

Existing studies mainly focused on the technical perspectives of cogeneration systems for the hotel industry. However, there is no systematic review on the environmental and economic evaluations of cogeneration systems in the literature. Moreover, little about the cogeneration system acceptance in the hotel industry is available in the literature. Therefore, this work aimed to understand the economic and environmental performance of cogeneration systems in buildings with different contexts (Study 1), investigate the cogeneration system acceptance in the Hong Kong hotel industry (Study 2), explore critical factors for the acceptance and non-acceptance of cogeneration systems (Study 2) and examine the operation and interaction of the factors (Study 3).

In Study 1, a systematic review on the economic and environmental evaluations of the system was conducted. Results showed that the cogeneration system can lead to a significant reduction of energy consumptions, operating costs, and carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, and positive performance on other relevant parameters. This study provided extensive evidence to show that the cogeneration system is economically profitable and environmentally friendly simultaneously in various application contexts.

In Study 2, 40 individual interviews with hotel management personnel were conducted to collect qualitative data, analysed with a three-step coding. A grounded theory model was developed to elucidate the use and non-use of cogeneration systems. Results showed that hotel management personnel held an overall positive attitude towards using cogeneration systems; this attitude was related to usefulness, importance, convenience and efficiency. Moreover, a negative attitude towards using cogeneration systems related to challenge and reluctance to changes was reported. The factors that influenced the use and non-use of cogeneration systems among hotel management personnel included utilitarian outcomes, environmental awareness, trust, government facilitators, technological barriers, perceived cost, risk perception and situational influence. However, how the factors influence the cogeneration system acceptance by hotel management personnel has not been examined quantitatively.

For addressing the limitations of Study 2, Study 3 proposed a cogeneration system acceptance model (CoSAM) by integrating the technology acceptance model with perceived cost, perceived benefit, risk perception, environmental awareness and facilitating conditions. The validity of the CoSAM was investigated using structure equation modelling based on the data collected from 499 hotel management personnel (including managers and engineers). Results showed that the intention to use the cogeneration systems of hotel management personnel was positively determined by attitude towards using cogeneration systems, which was directly affected by perceived usefulness, risk perception and perceived benefit. Moreover, with perceived usefulness as a mediator, facilitating conditions and environmental awareness indirectly positively influenced attitude towards using cogeneration systems, while perceived cost indirectly negatively influenced the attitude.

The results from the three studies successfully contributed to the relevant literature by providing in-depth insights into the current situation and problems about cogeneration system acceptance by hotel management personnel. The results are also beneficial to cogeneration system developers because they can understand the concerns of hotel management personnel in adopting a cogeneration system. The results should encourage the cogeneration system developers to improve cogeneration systems for the hotel industry. Given the results, the government, organizations and concerned parties may establish incentive policies to encourage the adoption of cogeneration systems in the hotel industry, thus reducing the energy consumptions, operating costs, and carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of the hotel industry.