Research published today by one of the leading energy suppliers, npower, has revealed that we are a nation which knows how to be green – yet affordability and motivation are preventing us from changing our behaviour.
The study of 2,000 Brits showed that nine out of 10 UK homeowners have heard the term ‘energy efficiency’ and nearly three quarters (72%) know it can save them money. However, two fifths think they cannot afford to be energy efficient and 22% say they can’t be bothered.
What’s more, less than half (45%) of homeowners are conscious of the effect their energy use has on the environment and nearly a quarter (23%) believe their actions won’t make a difference.
In spite of these barriers, 62% of the population say they have installed ‘quick and easy’ energy saving improvements, such as insulation or draught-proofing. However, when quizzed about long-tem lifestyle changes, such as solar panels, the numbers drop dramatically, with just 5% investing in such improvements on their properties.
David Titterton, Green Deal & Obligations Director at npower, comments: “Our research shows quite a one dimensional view of energy efficiency and sustainability. On the one hand, UK homeowners are taking steps to cut their energy and reduce their bills, but there is little engagement in long-term planning, particularly when it comes to self-generation technology such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps.
“While part of this naturally derives from the different levels of investment needed to install these improvements, there is also a lack of understanding as to why using renewable energy is so important. We need a cultural change to the way we view energy waste. By using less energy and tapping into renewable sources where possible, households can reduce their energy costs both now and for years to come, as well as doing their bit to help combat climate change. ”
Two fifths of UK homeowners say they cannot afford to be efficient but, thanks to a new Government scheme called the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), householders who are in receipt of certain benefits, live in specific areas of the country or have a property that is particularly hard to insulate could receive free energy saving improvements from npower – whether they are an npower customer or not. How it works is an accredited Home Energy Assessor will visit the property to provide a free and impartial assessment to determine which measures are suitable and whether they are available free of charge. An approved and accredited installer will then complete the work at the property.
For households that do not qualify for free energy saving improvements, npower will also soon be offering energy saving improvements through the Green Deal. This is another government initiative that gives access to a finance package to pay for recommended home improvements through instalments on your electricity bill. This means households can install and benefit from improvements straight away, and the extra cost on their bill should be covered by the estimated financial savings expected to be achieved through the installation of the improvements.
David Titterton adds: “Cost should not be a barrier for households looking to improve their energy efficiency. While many have taken steps to install some measures, the majority could still benefit from improvements which could be available free of charge or through the Green Deal. From insulation to boiler replacements, there are a range of simple and straightforward improvements to keep homes warmer while reducing energy usage.”
For more information on the npower and the energy saving improvements on offer, visit www.npower.com/greennation or call 0800 980 3355.
Research was conducted with 2,000 UK homeowners on 16th April 2013. Participants were aged 18 or over and split into the following age ranges – 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+.