Over 90% of households held back from embracing new renewable technologies

A revealing survey from Electricity North West, which looked at consumer attitudes to energy saving and the adoption of renewables, has exposed worrying results on energy consumption amongst British consumers. The findings uncovered a whopping 91 per cent of UK consumers have no renewable technologies in their home, with 64 per cent citing cost as the main barrier to adoption.

The research also revealed 39 per cent of consumers, who didn’t have any energy saving measures installed, stated nothing was currently preventing them from taking up energy saving measures, suggesting a level of indifference or unawareness of the financial and environmental gains associated with energy efficiency.

Commissioned by the North West’s power network operator, the YouGov survey, of 1,539 UK consumers, also highlighted that funding (30%) and cost incentives (14%) may be key to encouraging increased adoption of renewable energy technology.

“With continued growth of electrical devices, including vehicles, it’s quite clear as a nation, we’re using more electricity. To counter the effects of this, it’s critical that we take a combined approach; investing in renewable technologies to create more sustainable power, while making small changes to our consumption of energy so that we save what we can, wherever we can,” comments Steve Cox, Director of Engineering, Electricity North West.

“We particularly welcome the recent announcement from the Government, that major changes in the way electricity is made, used and stored is due to be rolled out over the next year, which could mean billions of pounds worth of savings for British consumers.

“Alongside these new rules, our research has highlighted that British consumers can do more to save money and increase efficiencies in relation to energy consumption and we would encourage people to act now.”

The findings suggest a lack of motivation to embrace renewables and low-carbon energy technology. This sentiment is echoed by Ipsos Mori research which revealed that, out of Germany, France and Norway, UK citizens are least concerned about climate change, with only 20 per cent very or extremely worried, and 15 per cent not worried at all.

Despite this, there does appear to be a growing appetite for change, with the Government’s recent announcement confirming that new diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040. The number of electric vehicles on Britain’s roads predicted to reach nine million by 2030, up from around 90,000 today, according to the National Grid. This follows France’s pledge to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and is supported by Electricity North West’s findings, which revealed 27 per cent of respondents expect to own an electric car by 2050.

Steve Cox, adds: “With the anticipated adoption of electric vehicles, it is critical to start planning now for smarter use of energy; in all reality, effecting savings on existing domestic energy consumption now could fund renewable technologies of the future.”

Findings from the research also revealed there are still some variances amongst UK consumers when it comes to understanding their energy consumption, with 26 per cent believing that cookers/ovens use the most energy when in fact, A-rated fridge freezers are the worst offenders.

Interestingly, the older generation appears to have a much better grasp of and willingness to adapt their behaviour when it comes to energy efficiency, with 59 per cent of over 55s reducing their heating by one degree in order to save energy, compared to just 27 per cent of 18-24 year olds.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications at National Energy Action (NEA), concludes: “While awareness of energy efficiency has grown in recent years, further education is needed to empower more British consumers to make the right choices regarding their energy consumption. Given that 70 per cent of survey respondents have never sought advice on how to save energy at home, it’s important that we continue to help consumers to make the right choices.

“NEA has worked for over 35 years to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the UK and enable consumers to reduce their energy bills. It would appear from these findings that our work is still very much needed.”

“For too long, the focus has been on switching energy suppliers to reduce bills however, with three easy steps consumers can change their energy consumption such as; showering for a minute less each day, switching electricals to standby and using less water when boiling a kettle,” concluded Steve Cox, Director of Engineering.