Calls for more affordable green heating solutions grow as cost revealed as biggest barrier to purchase
New data from the UK government has revealed that consumer resistance to switching to low carbon heating systems in the home is being driven by cost.
The findings come as the government proposes an end to the installation of fossil fuel boilers in off-gas grid homes from 2026, which would include oil boilers and affect large numbers of households in rural counties using oil when the time comes to replace their heating system.
Households across the UK were surveyed for the latest Public Attitudes Tracker, which is published quarterly by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industry Strategy (BEIS).
When asked why they would be unlikely to install a heat pump, which is the government’s preferred replacement low carbon heating system, upfront cost was cited as the biggest factor (45%). Nearly a third (31%) also said they didn’t think it would be possible to install one in their property.
The survey also revealed around half (51%) of consumers know a little or hardly anything about heat pumps, with just 5% saying ‘they know a lot’.
Air Source Heat Pumps cost around £12,900, but rural homes are typically older which means they often require significant modification and energy efficiency upgrades for the technology to work effectively.According to BEIS, the total cost for some of these types of properties to transition to a heat pump could exceed £20,000.
In response OFTEC, the trade association for liquid fuel heating, is calling for the government to recognise more affordable low carbon solutions to support households off the gas grid to switch to greener heating.
Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC, said: “Whilst heat pumps have an important role to play in the UK’s journey towards net zero, it’s clear to see from the BEIS figures that for many properties, particularly off the gas grid, they remain largely unsuitable due to high installation costs and the practical challenges, which can result in significant disruption.
“These concerns will only grow as the cost-of-living crisis deepens. The UK Government must recognise the current economic landscape and offer viable alternatives to ensure rural homes are given a genuine, fair choice on how they go green.
“For oil heated homes, the renewable liquid fuel HVO, which reduces emissions by 88% is an ideal alternative with a quick and simple conversion cost of around £500. Our successful demonstration project has proved it works and our industry is ready to deliver a wider rollout if the government can provide the necessary policy support.”
The full BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker survey can be found here. For more information about renewable liquid fuels, visit: www.futurereadyfuel.info.