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Public attitudes to the Green policy and Home Energy & Heating

Executive summary

The key findings for the December 2020 wave of the tracker are presented below. Please note that all questions are based on the surveys carried out on Kantar’s online omnibus only. Therefore, results from December 2020 are compared with online data from September 2020, June 2020 and March 2020, where relevant. Results are not comparable with earlier face-to-face waves.

Net Zero
In December 2020, three quarters of people (76%) were aware of the concept of “Net Zero”. Awareness has increased each wave since the question was first asked online in March 2020, when awareness was 52%.

Climate Change
Eight in ten people (81%) in December 2020 were either very concerned (37%) or fairly concerned (44%) about climate change. The level of overall concern about climate change has remained stable since June 2020 but increased slightly from March 2020 (78%).

Renewable Energy
The proportion of people who supported renewable energy in December 2020 was 78%, a slight decrease from September 2020 (80%). Opposition to the use of renewable energy remained low at 3%.

Shale Gas
Almost nine in ten people (88%) had at least some awareness of fracking in December 2020. These findings have remained stable since March 2020 when the question was first asked online.

Over a third of people (34%) opposed fracking and a quarter (25%) supported it. Support has remained stable since June 2020 but has increased slightly since March 2020 (19%).

Condensing Boilers
In December 2020, six in ten people (59%) had a condensing boiler in their home.Heat networks

Just under three in ten (28%) had heard of heat networks in December 2020.

Of those who were aware of heat networks, six in ten (60%) said they would be likely to join one if given the opportunity. This equated to 17% of all people. Over half (54%) of those that were aware of heat networks were also positive about them.

Renewable Heating Systems
Eight in ten people (80%) had at least some awareness of renewable heating systems in December 2020.

People were more aware of solar thermal panels (84%) than other renewable heating systems (62% were aware of biomass boilers, 60% were aware of ground source heat pumps and 57% were aware of air source heat pumps).

Cost was the most common barrier (58%) among owner-occupiers who had heard of renewable heat measures but who did not want to install one.

Heat Usage in the Home
In December 2020, three quarters of people (75%) said they paid either a lot (24%) or a fair amount (51%) of attention to the amount of heat they used in their home. One in five (21%) said they did not pay very much attention to this, and 3% said they pay no attention to it at all.

The most common reason given for paying attention to the amount of heat used in the home was to minimise the amount of money spent on heat (46%).

The most common reason given for not paying attention to the amount of heat used in the home was because people wanted to use as much heat as needed to be comfortable (49%).

Installing or Replacing Heating Systems
In December 2020, 55% of the public said they would only replace their heating system when their current one breaks down or starts to deteriorate. One in five (19%) said they would consider replacing their heating system while it was still working.

People said they would mainly change their heating system to save money on bills (45%) but over a third (35%) said they would do this to switch to a more environmentally friendly heating system.

Those involved in choosing a new boiler or heating system were asked which sources of information they had used to make their decision. The majority (58%) had sought information from their heating engineer or installer. People also sought information from their energy provider (27%), the internet (26%), and from friends and family (25%).

Most people involved in choosing a new boiler or heating system (85%) said it was easy to get the information they wanted.

When asked who they would most trust to provide advice about which heating system to install in their home, the most common responses were the Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) or Home Energy Scotland (22%) followed by a tradesperson (17%).

BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker (December 2020, Wave 36, UK)

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