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Heating industry survey warns of decarbonisation awareness challenge

Study based on responses from hundreds of heating experts looks at current industry attitudes to training and awareness campaigns that are seen as being vital to reduce carbon emissions

A survey of 827 heating professionals has found that a significant majority of respondents are not ‘very confident’ in commissioning and informing end users about low carbon heating options.

Some 74 per cent of respondents to the survey, which is backed by government and supported through a range of different member associations, said that they were not fully confident in selecting suitable lower carbon options to deliver heat.

The feedback comes as the government looks to set out its preferred strategies to realise and support decarbonised buildings in line with its 2050 net zero aims. These aims, which are focused on fully eliminating or offsetting national carbon emissions, were passed into law this year.

Findings from the survey, which were based largely on responses from individuals nearer retirement age, are seen as an important step to garner responses from installers, plumbers and engineers over their existing knowledge and understanding of the challenges to expand low to no carbon heat. The survey also highlighted a need for improved communication to homeowners and end users on the need to transform domestic heating.

A statement on the decarbonisation survey said, “In order to be successful, it will be vital that those working in the industry are a contributory part of this change.”

Among the core conclusions of the report, 11.5 per cent of respondents said that they had customers who frequently asked about lower carbon heating systems, carbon emissions and renewable energy systems. By contrast, 69 per cent of the survey group said they were rarely, if ever asked about these issues by end users.

Respondents who worked as installers highlighted a need to rethink how the issue of low carbon heat and renewable solutions are being communicated and marketed to homeowners. They said marketing would be an important step in building understanding.

The survey also focused on the issue of skills training. 58 per cent of the survey group said that obligatory training, such as initiatives required as part of joining a member organisation, were among the most significant drivers for them to undertake skills programmes. 50 per cent of respondents pointed to installation standards as an important reason to undertake training, with 30 per cent pointing to customer demand as a reason to develop new skills.

The survey accepted that the majority of responses from the findings were from individuals aged over 41. 58 per cent of feedback was from individuals over 51 years of age. No responses to the survey were received by individuals aged 20 or under.

The findings said, “A large proportion were close to reaching retirement age. This is broadly reflective of the wider fossil fuel heating system installer market.”

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