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Government must increase heat pump awareness

UK: The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has called on the UK government to improve consumer awareness of heat pumps in its efforts to improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes.

In its new report – Decarbonising Heat in Britain’s Building – the BRE claims that its own research has found that 62% of the public would not feel at all confident explaining how heat pump technology works. In addition, only 42% of consumers have heard of the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Recognising that heat pumps are the best option in the transition to low carbon heat, the BRE is calling on government to improve consumer awareness of heat pumps, accelerate the roll-out of insulation, and invest to scale-up the heat pump market.

With 88% of homes in the UK still heated by natural gas, the BRE maintains that improving consumer awareness of heat pumps will help to boost demand over the long-term and, ultimately, bring the UK closer to its 2050 net zero target. 

However, BRE’s research also reveals that there remain significant barriers to take-up of this technology, and the UK is far behind comparable European countries in the development of its heat pump market. A lack of public awareness, slow momentum on energy efficiency changes, and limited investment in the market are highlighted by the BRE as the key factors contributing to the slow take-up of heat pumps.

Whilst the UK Government has launched a public awareness campaign to encourage UK households to cut their energy use, BRE is calling on the Government to do more including extending its campaign to include information on heat pumps specifically. Improving public understanding of how low carbon heating technologies work will go a long way towards increasing consumer take-up and helping people make the transition to clean energy.

BRE is continuing to call on the UK Government to build on the progress already made in this area and implement a national retrofit strategy including the acceleration of the roll-out of insulation. 

“Our latest polling shows that there is a clear knowledge gap around the benefits of heat pumps which needs to be addressed if we are to deliver meaningful, lasting change and decarbonise the UK’s inefficient buildings,” said BRE CEO Gillian Charlesworth. “Neither the Government nor the public can afford to waste this opportunity – and keeping up current momentum in this area will be vital.”

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