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Despite low uptake of BUS, Brits show interest in green solutions

There are 95,454 searches on Google for heat pumps each month in the UK, yet only a 38% uptake in the boiler upgrade scheme. Despite the low uptake, energy experts at Confused.com see the strong interest among Brits in green energy sources as a promising starting point.

There is demand for heat pumps, represented by the 100,000 people taking to Google to seek more information about the alternative heat source each month, yet these searches are not reflective of the take-up of the boiler upgrade scheme.

Demand for more sustainable energy systems in homes is high for Brits with 311,500 people searching for green energy sources each month. Yet, the initial investment required for heat pump installation – after deducting the Government grant – is still significant compared to the renewal of traditional heating systems. For example, while the average cost of a heat pump is £13,300, the cost to replace a traditional gas boiler costs between £2,000-£4,000. 

The boiler upgrade scheme's low adoption could be driven by factors such as the complexity of installation, lack of knowledge and uncertainty regarding future heating solutions[3].

Due to the complexity of installing certain green energy sources, specialist skills and qualifications are often required. Data from energy experts at Confused.com reveals there is a lack of UK qualified green energy installation companies. Only 17% of all UK towns and cities have at least 1 renewable company per 10,000 population. In 12% of locations, there are no renewable energy installation companies registered at all.

The number of companies specialising in green energy is likely to grow significantly, as the country works to create energy security and heads towards net zero targets. A government initiative is supporting this by providing £200 million to help people across the country launch careers in key industries, including green energy

In the period between November 2022 and December 2023, heat pumps were the most searched for energy source in the UK. On average, they gained 96,000 Google searches per month, totalling over 1 million searches over a year. 

As well as Googling the alternative heating system, people are also seeking information on TikTok (57,900 monthly searches). People are also starting the purchase process, on Amazon (120,000 monthly searches) and eBay (62,100 monthly searches). 

The reason for the high demand for heat pumps may be a result of the UK government's current Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This offers a £7,500 grant for the cost and installation of an air source and ground source heat pump. 

While the scheme may have sparked initial conversation and research into heat pumps, the average cost of the green energy source is £13,300. Therefore, the scheme only covers, on average, 53% of the cost of the heat pump and installation costs, and households will need to fork out £5,800 of their own money. 

Of the 96,454 people searching on Google for heat pumps each month, 6,131 people go on to search for 'heat pump costs' and a further 1,946  people go on to search the installation costs that are incurred on top of this. 

An energy expert at Confused.com comments: “The UK is ramping up its sustainability efforts as it aims to reach net zero by 2050, and we’re even seeing more interest in green energy sources to heat our homes.

“Online searches for these energy sources are increasing each year, and while government schemes have been set up to encourage adoption, the switch to green energy adoption is still unaffordable for many. 

“However, the strong interest among Brits in green energy sources represents a promising starting point. It demonstrates that, given the proper education and resources, we can expect a rise in households adopting green energy for heating in the future.'


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16 May 2024

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