BRE calls on UK government to improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes

  • Heat pumps will be the dominant technology used in the transition to low carbon heat
  • However, the majority of the public (62%) don’t feel confident explaining how a heat pump works or the benefits of installing one in their home
  • 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.

New polling from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has found that the majority of the public (62%) would not feel at all confident explaining how heat pump technology works.

In addition, less than half (42%) of consumers have heard of the Government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme which is specifically designed to incentivise the uptake of heat pumps.

Today’s findings come as BRE publishes a new report, Decarbonising Heat in Britain’s Buildings, which calls on government to go further in its support to transition households to clean heat.

While the UK has committed to reaching net zero by 2050, some 88% of homes in the UK are still heated by natural gas (1). Heating our buildings accounts for nearly a quarter (23%) of the UK’s total greenhouse gases and decarbonising heat will be crucial to achieving net zero.

Improving consumer awareness of heat pumps will help to boost demand over the long-term and, ultimately, bring the UK closer to its net zero target. 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 – Gillian Charlesworth CEO of BRE

BRE’s research finds that, based on currently available technology, heat pumps are the best option to transition households away from fossil fuels and onto clean energy. Heat pumps can be most affordably installed and operated in well-insulated buildings. The reduced heat demand in insulated buildings can be readily met by the steady, lower temperature heat that heat pumps most efficiently provide.

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 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…Read more

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