Energy Consumers Reluctant to Switch to Renewable Heating

7th Jun 2013

When it comes to switching to renewable heating technologies energy consumers are still sceptical, research from the Energy Saving Trust and Ipsos MORI has suggested. 

It seems that a general lack of awareness surrounding renewable heating products including heat pumps, solar water heating, biomass and energy saving condensing boilers,  is making people reluctant to switch to alternative types of heating systems.

Back in March the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published the findings of a a report they commissioned which investigated the British public’s willingness to invest in energy efficient green heating technologies. DECC’s research revealed that a limited number of households were open to changing their current central heating system, and would in fact only do so as a distress purchase. In most cases homeowners tend to look at replacing their system if their existing system develops a fault and breaks down beyond a cost effective repair.

Similarly there was a lack of interest in rural off-gas areas thought to be a prime target for renewable heating. According to the research less than 9% of homeowners living in rural locations expressed an interest in renewables, regardless of any financial incentive, be it 100% grants or long term tariffs made available through the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive and similar schemes.

So it seems people are still somewhat sceptical of alternative technologies, prefering instead to stick with what they know – like oil central heating systems for example which, according to latest figures, remain the first choice for rural homeowners. Enjoying a 53% rise for the month of April compared to boiler sales figures the previous year, consumers certainly seem to have confidence in this type of heating system. In fact homeowners not connected to the gas grid expressed most interest in oil boilers when quizzed about future heating systems.

The report also revealed:

  • Price and running costs remained the most important factor.
  • Many homeowners were of the opinion that upgrading their home heating system wouldn’t increase their property’s value.
  • Negativity continues to surround biomass boilers and air source heat pumps, which were deemed visually unattractive.

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