More than three quarters (78%) are willing to make changes in the home to achieve Net Zero
- Climate change is now seen as the fifth most important issue facing the country
- For Summer 2023 the British Gas Net Zero Homes Index, which measures confidence in Net Zero being achieved, drops slightly from 57.5 to 56.5
- Over the next two years, almost half (47%) of homeowners said they were willing to install improved insulation to tackle climate change with 28% willing to install a heat pump
- One in three (30%) parents say their child knows more about climate change than they do
- British Gas is training its workforce to deliver its range of Net Zero products across the UK and supports calls for a greater investment in green skills
- You can explore the Net Zero Homes Index in-depth here
British Gas has today released their second Net Zero Homes Index tracking how UK families feel about the journey to Net Zero and their readiness to make home and lifestyle changes.
The Index reveals that when it comes to Net Zero, there continues to be widespread awareness but a limited understanding of the 2050 Net Zero target. When Net Zero was explained, 71% of the public agreed that it was the right thing to do. On average, people believe that the UK will reach Net Zero closer to 2075 rather than 2050 and, over one in five (22%) respondents were so pessimistic that they thought it would never be achieved.
In this year’s research, the cost-of-living crisis and high energy prices have meant confidence has dropped slightly from 57.5 to 56.5 on a scale from 0 to 100. Most significantly, climate change is now seen as the fifth most important issue facing the country as it moves down from fourth last year. Despite this, over half (57%) of respondents say that climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time.
The development of onshore wind, which has previously faced pockets of local opposition as well as a government ban on development, remains in line with last year’s results. The research found that respondents were overwhelmingly receptive to the development with 79% supporting building more onshore wind, with just 7% saying they were opposed. Over four in five (88%) respondents supported building more solar power, 83% supported more offshore wind and, new nuclear remained the most controversial option, with only 48% supporting it.
Making changes in the home
Following on from last year, the public are more committed to tackling climate change, with 78% of respondents willing to make changes in their home. In fact, over the next two years, almost half (47%) of homeowners said they were willing to install improved insulation with over two fifths (41%) willing to add solar panels to their roof and 28% willing to install an electric vehicle ‘fast charge’ point.
This year, the Index revealed over one in four homeowners (28%) would be willing to install a heat pump. Attitudes to heat pumps vary substantially by age with 48% aged 18-24 willing to install a heat pump compared to just 15% of those aged 65 and over.
"In a year that has been particularly difficult for households with the rising cost of living and inflation at a high, we’ve seen these issues reflected in our second Net Zero Homes Index. But we are also seeing that more people want to make changes to decarbonise their homes."
Gail Parker, Director of Low Carbon Homes at British Gas Zero
About half (51%) of people in the UK report having not heard of flexibility trials for electricity demand. However, when asked if people would take up the opportunity to take part if they were offered, 34% said they would definitely take part, whilst 40% said they would probably want to take part.
40% of respondents said that they trust British Gas to help reduce their home’s emissions. This is even higher when looking at the workforce of skilled British Gas engineers. Half (50%) of the public say they would trust a British Gas engineer to help them reduce their home’s emissions.
The Index also revealed that energy price pressures are driving support for policies to build more low-carbon energy sources and better insulate people’s homes. Just under half of respondents (48%) say higher energy prices made them more likely to look at “installing energy efficiency products” such as heat pumps and solar panels in the next twelve months.
British Gas is committed to working with the whole industry to deliver the changes needed to meet Net Zero in UK homes with new products and solutions that enable a fair and affordable transition and is also training thousands of engineers to deliver the changes needed. The company is also a leader of the Future Skills Programme which is calling on a properly funded and more flexible education system with new qualifications in low-carbon technologies.
Gail Parker, Director of Low Carbon Homes at British Gas Zero says:
“In a year that has been particularly difficult for households with the rising cost of living and inflation at a high, we’ve seen these issues reflected in our second Net Zero Homes Index. But we are also seeing that more people want to make changes to decarbonise their homes and its key that we work with Government and the rest of the industry to ensure households can make these changes easily and affordably.
“A big part of that is ensuring we find the right solutions that can lower emissions whilst helping our customers make savings on their bills. We’ve been taking learnings from our customers and this research to meet this challenge and are committed to training our workforce to take our customers on the journey to decarbonise their homes.
“This year we’ve reassured customers with a best price heat pump offering that’s guaranteed to heat your home as efficiently as a gas boiler and we launched a new suite of Net Zero services in solar, insulation, home energy efficiency and electric vehicle (EV) charging. We’re also helping our customers save with PeakSave offering half price electricity at greener off-peak times with Summer Sundays.”
As the discussion around climate change and anxiety continues to grow in intensity, the Index also looked at the awareness and understanding parents think their children have. Three in five (62%) parents (with children aged 5+) said their child knows “a lot” or “quite a lot” about climate change. And, when asked to rate their child’s knowledge compared to their own, 30% reported that their child knew more than they did, with 38% saying their child knew as much as they did and just over a quarter (26%) saying their child knew less.
When asked which emotions respondents generally feel when reading about climate change, the top answers showed there was concern and a lack of control. The three highest emotions were ‘worried’ (45%), ‘frustrated’ (33%) and ‘helpless’ (26%).
About the British Gas Net Zero Homes Index
The British Gas Net Zero Homes Index examines how Britain’s families are feeling about the journey to Net Zero, their role in it, and their readiness to make changes to their home and lifestyle. This is the second publication – and provides a baseline answer to these questions. We intend to update the results twice a year to see how public attitudes are changing. In this report we use a large sample poll to look in detail at the issues that families feel are most pressing, what people think about climate change and how they think governments and businesses should respond. We then dig into the changes that will be required in peoples’ homes as we go further on reducing emissions, we look at familiarity with low carbon alternatives and willingness to pay for them. Finally, we look at the sources of advice that people turn to when faced with making low carbon choices and who they trust to deliver the Net Zero goal.
Public First surveyed 4,007 adults online in May 2023. All results are weighted using Iterative Proportional Fitting, or ‘Raking’. The results are weighted by interlocking age & gender, region and social grade to Nationally Representative Proportions.
About British Gas
British Gas is Britain’s leading supplier of energy and services and the country’s biggest retailer of zero carbon electricity. We are part of Centrica, a company founded on a 200-year heritage of serving people. We provide energy and services to over 7 million UK homes and businesses, supported by around 7,000 highly trained engineers and technicians. We also offer a range of innovative products and services, including Hive and our on-demand digital trades service, Local Heroes. Our purpose of helping Our purpose of helping customers live sustainably, simply and affordably drives our strategy and our People and Planet Plan.
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