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PropertyAffluent Rural Residents Lead the Adoption of Heat Pumps, Reveals New Study

Affluent Rural Residents Lead the Adoption of Heat Pumps, Reveals New Study

In light of the government’s ambitious net-zero strategy, Harding Heating has conducted research to evaluate the progress of heat pump installations, a key component of the Department of Energy’s plans.

The study indicates that the wealthiest 30% of the UK’s population are ten times more likely to install heat pumps compared to the poorest third. Moreover, a significant majority of heat pump adopters (74%) reside in rural areas. Notably, those who opt for heat pumps typically own larger homes, with an average of four bedrooms, while those who choose gas boilers tend to have homes with three bedrooms. Interestingly, heat pump installations are commonly observed in older (pre-1900) or newer (post-2012) houses, whereas gas boilers are prevalent in properties built between 1950 and 1975.

While heat pumps excel in heating water, with an impressive satisfaction rate of 89%, they receive less favorable reviews when it comes to heating living spaces, with a satisfaction rate of only 56%. As a result, more than two-thirds of heat pump users rely on a secondary heat source, with wood stoves being the preferred option for half of them, followed by gas boilers for a third.

Despite the perceived environmental benefits, heat pump installations do not necessarily lead to significant cost savings. Around 66% of heat pump users express satisfaction with their running costs, compared to nearly 60% satisfaction among gas boiler users, even considering the elevated gas prices in 2022. Consequently, while heat pumps contribute to lower household emissions, they may not result in noticeable monetary savings.

The adoption of heat pumps by energy companies remains relatively slow, with only 4% of heat pump installations attributed to energy suppliers. In contrast, energy suppliers are responsible for installing one-fifth of gas boilers. This discrepancy raises questions about the motivations and commitment of energy companies to embrace heat pump technology, potentially influenced by their interests in preserving gas sales.

To achieve the government’s net-zero objectives by 2050, an essential obligation now enshrined in the Energy Bill, the number of heat pump installations needs to increase substantially. The goal is to expand annual heat pump installations from the current 30,000 to an ambitious 600,000 by 2028. Accomplishing this target necessitates a significant upsurge in the number of accredited installers, from 3,000 in 2022 to an estimated 27,000. Notably, regions with higher numbers of heat pump installations tend to be predominantly rural, with Shropshire and Staffordshire featuring approximately three installers per 100,000 individuals, ranking among the top 10 regions in the UK.

The government has embarked on an extensive strategy to fulfill its objectives. The launch of the £450 million Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) underscores its commitment to transforming the UK into a global leader in energy innovation, particularly by supporting heat pumps and related advancements. Furthermore, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme provides grants of £5,000 to incentivise households to switch to heat pumps. However, the additional costs borne by households, averaging £5,000, render heat pumps twice as expensive as the average gas boiler.

Seeking a blend of incentive and enforcement, the government plans to introduce a penalty of £5,000 per missed heat pump target for boiler manufacturers, effective from 2024. This measure has faced resistance from manufacturers, who warn of potential cost transfers to customers and reduced investment in the UK.

Find the full research here: https://www.hardingheating.co.uk/post/heat-pump-research

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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