People Need Better Informed On Green Deal

Action is required to tackle customers’ misconceptions over energy efficiency to ensure success of the Government’s 'Green Deal' policy, according to a report from Ernst & Young.

The research, which examined the attitudes of 2,000 UK homeowners, showed that better information and effective engaging is vital to ensure the Government's commitments on delivering its energy efficiency objectives, the think tank said.

Ernst & Young's report found that 79% of consumers already believe their homes are energy efficient even though far fewer have key energy efficiency measures installed. Only 39% have cavity wall insulation, only 39% have a high efficiency boiler, whilst 31% do not have have loft insulation.

Despite this, only a tiny number of households told the survey they planned to install new energy efficiency measures – 12% for photovoltaic panels and high efficiency boilers, and only single figures for every other measure mentioned in the survey.

Ernst & Young’s James Close said: “Our research shows there is a clear market need for the Green Deal. The upfront cost of energy efficiency is the single biggest barrier to consumers doing more to save energy.

"This is the gap that the Green Deal fills. For the policy to have an impact, consumers need information that they trust to be persuaded that it will help them. At the moment consumers misguidedly think it’s a case of ‘job done’ on energy efficiency.”

The research also found that an inability to afford the upfront costs of energy efficiency is the number one reason why homeowners were holding back.

Meanwhile, two fifths of those surveyed believe that relatively high cost measures like solar electric panels and solar water heating could save them money. For many households, however, such measures are only affordable if they receive help with finance.

The report also showed that consumers have a clear understanding of impending energy rises, with 22% expecting to see rises as high as £500 per annum, yet 43% of consumers stated they require more information on how they could save money.

Overall, the research showed that consumer knowledge about energy consumption is exceedingly low with 71% claiming they have no idea how much they spend heating their home during winter, 80% are unaware of the cost of heating their hot water supply while less than a fifth have any idea of the cost of running key appliances.


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