Three quarters of consumers can’t name a green heat technology

Nearly three quarters of consumers aren’t familiar with green heat technologies like solar thermal panels and air source heat pumps. That is one of the findings of a poll of a thousand homeowners carried out for the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC).

The survey coincides with the launch of the third round of the government’s Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF), which is making £70m available to help homeowners in England and Wales to help them install energy saving measures. GDHIF funding is largely applied to retrofitting homes with insulation, glazing and new boilers. The APHC survey indicates that campaigns by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and efforts to encourage consumers to go green still have work to do to increase public understanding of renewable energy options and potential benefits.

Key findings of the survey are:

  • 73% of respondents were unable to name any environmental heat technologies – unless prompted with a list of technologies
  • The 27% able to name one environmental heat technology had greatest awareness of solar thermal panels with a response rate of 18%. Wind turbines came next with 4% and the third was tidal power at 2%
  • When provided with a list of technologies, recognition substantially rose with 83% of people stating they had heard of solar thermal panels, 42% heat pumps and 34% biomass boilers.12% of respondents said they hadn’t heard of any of the three technologies listed
  • 39% were unable to identify any benefit to switching to a new technology. Of those who could, common reasons included lowering bills, better for the environment, less reliance on fossil fuel and the positives of being ‘off grid’

John Thompson, chief executive at APHC said: “This research clearly shows that despite efforts to encourage homeowners to look at alternative sources of heating, awareness of these technologies is low. Whilst most people will appreciate that replacing an old boiler with a modern efficient condensing boiler will save money and use less energy, there are many other options that could provide longer term savings”.

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