008 HPM 0415

HPM April 2015

NEWSDESK Follow us on Twitter: @HPMMag A poll by the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has revealed campaigns by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to encourage consumers to ‘go green’ are failing to get the message across about the benefits of renewable energy and range of options available. Only 27% of the 1,000 homeowners polled across England and Wales could name one environmental heat technology, of which solar thermal panels were the most recognised with a response rate of 18%, wind turbines came next with four per cent followed by tidal power (two per cent). The Green Deal encourages consumers to make energy saving improvements to homes and the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund offers cash back for installing two government approved measures. However the research found that only 13% of respondents indicated this would be a motivating factor. In fact 69% of people are more likely to install to make long-term savings on their energy bills. Surprisingly, environmental impact appears low on consumers’ motivation with less than ten per cent suggesting reduced impact on the environment would be a deciding factor. When provided with a list of technologies, recognition did substantially rise with 83% of people stating they had heard of solar thermal panels, 42% heat pumps and 34% biomass boilers. Yet, 12% of respondents hadn’t heard of any of the three technologies listed, suggesting the green revolution has some way to go. Equally, consumers appear to be unsure about the benefits of renewable energy over a traditional heating system. Nearly four in ten respondents (39%) were unable to identify any benefit to switching to a new technology. Of those who could, common reasons included lowering bills, better for the environment, less reliance on fossil fuel and the positives of being ‘off grid’. John Thompson, APHC chief executive, said: ‘’This research clearly shows that despite efforts to encourage homeowners to look at alternative sources of heating, awareness of these technologies is low. ‘’While most people will appreciate that replacing an old boiler with a modern efficient condensing boiler will save money and use less energy, there are many other options that could provide longer-term savings plus a reduced impact on the environment, such as heat pumps or biomass boilers. ‘’Incentivising people to make their homes more energy efficient is to be encouraged but a longer-term plan is needed to increase participation by whatever party is in power after the general election.’’ FROM THE EDITOR WWW.HPMMAG.COM Plumbers, heating engineers and meter installers should alert the local authorities when they visit a ‘dangerously cold home’ in order to reduce the toll of winter deaths. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence believes this ‘hidden army’ of non-health professionals, alongside GPs and district nurses, should help identify vulnerable people. The guidance suggests that local health and wellbeing boards should establish a single-point-of-contact referral system that GPs, plumbers, or others can contact should they have concerns. The intention is that people in cold homes could then get help, such as building insulation or advice on moving to cheaper energy tariffs. The move has been well received within the industry. The Hotwater and Industry Council believes its members are “well placed to make the change”, Worcester Bosch Group calls the proposal a “no-brainer” and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering says “it makes sense as our members can certainly advise on energy efficient systems”. But, more importantly, what will the 100,000 plus heating engineers and plumbers in Britain actually knocking on the doors of these vulnerable people think? As boiler manufacturer, Baxi points out contract engineers will be likely to accommodate the NICE guidelines with little difficulty, as they are already geared up to offer advice. But small business owners and one-man bands are unlikely to have the resources and would need to change thier business model radically to ensure they can make referrals. They will need thorough training, they will need to assess every elderly customer, then they will have to make the referrals. All this takes time and time is money. So will they be rewarded financially? Age UK estimates that cold homes cost NHS England £1.36 billion a year. If plumbers and heating engineers help save lives, can’t some of the savings made be passed to them? We will have to wait and see. Tim Wood, Editor HPM twood@unity-media.com Renewables leaving homeowners cold Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com “one-man bands unlikely to have the resources” Follow us on Twitter: @HPMMag Political will is main issue holding back renewables Senior parliamentarians from the four key political parties have agreed that political will, rather than money or technology, is holding back the UK’s renewable energy sector. The Renewable Energy Association’s (REA) Renewable Energy Question Time event last month involved a lively debate on the future of UK energy policy. Former Energy and Climate Change Minister and Conservative MP Gregory Barker, the Green Party’s Baroness Jones, Co-Chair of the Lib Dems Parliamentary Party Committee on Climate Change Lord, Teverson, and Labour MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead, all shared their views on renewables ahead of the 2015 general election. Looking back over the last five years, Gregory Barker was positive about progress made and believed the Conservatives had particularly moved its approach to renewables and climate change forward. His fellow panellists, however, were still quick to point out the party’s flaws. All four panellists agreed that a key priority for any future government needs to be pushing the APRIL 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY 8 renewable energy agenda forward. As part of this, emphasis needs to be on raising awareness of the benefits of renewable energy among the public, ensuring the wider debate becomes much more mainstream. It was agreed that consumer understanding and buy-in are fundamental to ensuring the success of renewable energy in the UK. REA chief executive, Dr Nina Skorupska, said: ‘’We understand we need to do more as an industry to improve understanding of renewables among the public to increase consumer uptake.’’


HPM April 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above