The research by the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors found that 73% of consumers were unable to name any environmental heat technologies without prompting.
The poll of homeowners across England and Wales found that campaigns by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and efforts to encourage consumers to ‘go green’ are failing to get the message across about the benefits of renewable energy.
Only 27% of respondents could name one environmental heat technology, of which solar thermal panels were the most recognised with a response rate of 18%, wind turbines came next with 4% and the third named is tidal power (2%). Heat pumps were recognised as a renewable heat technology by just 1% of those questioned. When prompted, however, 42% claimed to have heard of heat pumps.
The DECC’s flagship Green Deal scheme encourages consumers to make energy-saving improvements to homes and the Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) offers cash back for installing two Government approved measures; however the research found that only 13% of respondents indicated this would be a motivating factor. In fact 69% of people are more likely to install to make long-term savings on their energy bills.
Equally, consumers appear to be unsure about the benefits of renewable energy over a traditional heating system. Nearly 4 in 10 respondents (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 commented: “This research clearly shows that despite efforts to encourage homeowners to look at alternative sources of heating, awareness of these technologies is low. Incentivising people to make their homes warmer and more energy efficient is certainly to be encouraged but a longer-term plan is needed to increase participation by whatever party is in power after the general election.”