The Renewable Heat Report, performed by analytic group Frost & Sullivan, wand heating experts Innasol, highlighted a widespread lack of awareness of renewable heating options, as well as the savings that can be made with the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), set to start up in Spring 2014, to which people were often oblivious or even sceptical.
The RHI is in fact an incentive which has been helping amongst non-domestic installations since 2011. This spring, it will be extended to domestic installations, giving the average homeowner an opportunity to save on the cost of their installation with a series of grants available. Once installed, the renewable heating system could save homeowners over 45% on their heating bills.
The report claims that, although the scheme is helpful for those who can use it, only a small amount of households have been able to take part. It calls, instead, for the government to focus on more widespread promotion of renewable heating, increasing awareness and guiding homeowners through the process of making the switch.
Increasing heating costs
Rising heating costs are a huge concern to many of us here in the UK. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has predicted a 20% increase in the cost of gas by the end of the decade. However, this cost has already been steadily increasing- by an average of 16% a year- and it is now possible that fossil fuels have risen to be more expensive than renewable heating resources.
The report has shown that heating makes up the largest proportion of UK household bills (78%) and that UK houses are the least efficient in modern Europe.
Lack of awareness
The report highlights that a lack of awareness is the main reason why home owners aren’t taking advantage of cheaper, cleaner technologies and incentives such as the RHI, and are more willing to struggle with their current heating systems, making smaller changes such as using energy saving light bulbs or double glazing.
84% of UK residents were shown to not know that heat pumps are a form of renewable heating, while 74% were unaware that biomass heating was also renewable. A number of common myths also came to light, with many who were interviewed believing that renewable heating is expensive, difficult to install or potentially bad for the environment.
The DECC estimate that for the UK to hit its carbon targets by 2020, a further 750,000 renewable heating systems need to be installed. Although the introduction of the RHI this spring should help to drive up numbers, more needs to be done to make homeowners aware of the benefits of renewable heating and the ways they can get help making the switch in order for them to appreciate the financial and environmental benefits available.
Image sourced: H. Raabtagsrenewable heatingsurvey results