43% of Brits want more support from the Government to ditch fossil fuels in favour of alternatives to gas heating, according to a new study.
The insight comes from new research by Electric Radiators Direct who investigated the nation’s energy consumption habits at home, exploring how bigger bills are affecting what people do in their homes, as well as attitudes towards ditching fossil fuels, and which measures Brits would like to see the Government bring in to help decarbonise UK homes or improve efficiency.
At the moment, home heating is estimated to account for 14% of the UK’s carbon emissions, but the majority of households in the UK (around 80%) are still using gas as their main source of heating. With the UK sourcing around half of its gas from global markets, and the war in Ukraine causing European prices to surge, the nation’s dependence on imported gas is hitting the pockets of many British consumers.
As part of the recent Autumn Budget announcement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has underlined the importance of the UK reducing its reliance on foreign gas, as well as announcing an additional £6bn funding to improve home insulation from 2025, in the hope of increasing energy efficiency and reducing bills.
The study by Electric Radiators Direct has shown that this measure will likely be welcomed by many across the country, with 45% of the 2,000 Brits they surveyed saying they would like to see more grants and incentives to improve insulation in UK homes before the next General Election, and a further 43% saying they would like more support to ditch fossil fuels entirely.
However, some campaigners have said this may be ‘too little, too late’ to deal with the energy crisis the country is facing now. Additionally, energy bills for a typical household will rise from £2,500 now to £3,000 from April 2023, an increase of up to £500 a year on average.
But what are Brits’ habits now?
Overall, UK residents (84%) are very mindful of their at-home energy consumption at this time.
How keen is the country on ‘going green’?
When it comes to ditching fossil fuels, what does the nation think?
One in ten (10%) consumers say they have already invested in some sort of energy efficient solution for their home, which looks to be an improvement compared to last year, when a previous study by Electric Radiators Direct showed just six percent of respondents had done so.
Upfront costs remain the biggest obstacle for Brits looking to adopt ‘greener’ solutions for their homes (43% in 2021 and 41% in 2022).
In comparison to last year, fewer Brits are totally ruling out the idea of going ‘green’ with their home heating in the future though, with just 9% saying they have no intention of doing so now, compared to 13% in 2021.
Of course, investing in new energy solutions may not be a viable option for everyone right now. However, for those choosing to make the switch, ditching gas has a few benefits, including first and foremost lowering your home’s carbon footprint and minimising energy waste.
Stephen Hankinson, Managing Director at Electric Radiators Direct, gives his advice on where to start for those looking to “make the switch.”
Hankinson said, “First of all, consider how feasible it is to invest for you at the moment. If rising energy costs are your immediate concern, right now may not be the time. It could be helpful, though, to consider the long-term benefits of ditching fossil fuels, and plan ahead for a switchover in small steps. There are a number of options available for those looking to move away from fossil fuels, such as heat pumps, biomass boilers and electric heating.
Typically, air heat pumps cost around £8,000 to install, while ground source pumps, which extract solar energy from the earth and convert it into power, can be closer to £35,000 for a 2-3 bedroom house. In terms of running costs, outgoings for a heat pump in an average-sized home could be around £1,725 a year in total.
Biomass boilers, which use materials such as wood pellets or logs to create heat, could be another good alternative, especially for rural homes, and for those able to source suitable matter that can be turned into fuel.
On average, they cost between £5,000 and £13,000 to install, but can be quite cheap to run as the cost of fuel needed is around £5p per Kw/h. If you’re looking to choose a biomass boiler as an option, though, you must ensure you have enough space to house it, as they can be a considerable size.
If you’re not able to install a heat pump or biomass boiler but are still looking to switch to a greener alternative, you could also choose to adopt a green tariff and pair this with electric heaters.
Switching to a green tariff means that your provider is agreeing to buy energy only from renewable generation methods. Green energy suppliers can also replace the electricity you use with renewables and feed it back into the National Grid, making your home heating carbon free.
In terms of costs, electric radiators can be between £200 and £550 per unit, depending on wattage and model. They generally have no installation fees and could cost around £2,247 a year collectively to run for an average 3-bedroom home1.
Some electric radiators come with built-in thermostats that allow you to choose the temperature of your home precisely and manage your heating in different rooms individually. This minimises wasted heating unused spaces.
Infrared heaters could be another good solution, especially if your home is not perfectly insulated, as they don’t work by warming the surrounding air, but produce heat that travels in a wave, therefore warming objects directly.
Like electric radiators, they can be paired with a green tariff, to ensure your home heating is carbon free. They cost between £200 and £500 per unit and are generally up to £675 to run collectively per year.
It’s always worth noting that running costs and potential savings for each solution vary based on a number of factors, including the size and location of your home, as well as insulation, so it’s always advisable to consult a professional before you make your final decision.”