Consumer concerns threaten energy efficiency goals

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Investment in domestic energy efficiency initiatives, promised by Labour and Conservative party manifestos, may be undermined by consumer uncertainty and rogue traders, according to new polling by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).

Both parties have pledged significant funding to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes, with Labour proposing £6.6 billion and the Conservatives £6 billion over the next three years.

However, CTSI’s research highlights a lack of consumer awareness about available funding and technology, along with difficulty in finding reliable tradespeople.

The research indicates that 43% of homeowners are considering energy efficiency measures for financial and environmental reasons.

However, 41% are unaware of funding schemes and 18% are deterred by unfamiliar technology and difficulty in finding trustworthy installers.

Additionally, 56% of those not considering upgrades cited the high cost of energy efficiency technology as a barrier.

CTSI is advocating for a mandatory licensing system for installers to ensure they are properly trained and reliable.

This step is deemed necessary to meet the UK’s target of upgrading 28 million households to at least Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2050, a project estimated to cost £249.5 billion.

The research further found that 71% of homeowners would be more likely to install energy efficiency measures if the trader was independently approved and certified, with 50% preferring installers vetted by a Trading Standards-backed scheme.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI said: “It is good to see promises of investment in energy efficiency upgrades in the party manifestos.

“Achieving net zero will require all of us to play our part in ensuring that the energy efficiency measures installed in our homes are effective, safe and fit for the future.

“This is an area that is crying out for clarity and improved consumer confidence, with a bewildering array of funding schemes, new technologies and different organisations with overlapping remits creating a muddled picture and an overcrowded playing field.”

Steve Playle, CTSI Lead Officer for Energy and Net Zero said: “The move towards achieving net zero by 2050 is going to affect every single household across the UK.

“The technology around heat pumps, insulation, solar panels and home battery storage is very complex and very expensive, and many consumers are particularly vulnerable to attractive-sounding claims about how they can save money on energy bills.”

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