Homeowners do not understand low energy technologies

November 29, 2013
Posted by in Blog, Microgeneration, Research | Tagged , , , , , , |

Homeowners are unable to take advantage of the benefits of low and zero carbon technologies because they do not understand how they work, new research by the NHBC Foundation has revealed.

The research was carried out by Reading University in six homes across four separate developments and looked at how homeowners lived with the technologies day-by-day. It contains a number of recommendations for house builders to help understanding of low energy and zero carbon technologies.

A new in-depth study discovered that despite problems in understanding the technology and articulating its benefits, most homeowners still said they were comfortable using it and would recommend the technology to a friend. But unfortunately, not one homeowner interviewed was able to demonstrate an understanding of how, in principle, the technologies incorporated in their own homes, such as solar panels or energy saving heat pumps operated.

NHBC logo 2009_RGB copyThe report identified there is a risk that this could lead to dissatisfaction with new low-carbon homes, because of higher than expected energy bills, and to carbon emissions targets not being met in practice.

All the households monitored during the study stated that the LZC technologies had not been a factor in deciding to purchase the property, and significantly, all were unimpressed with the written guidance provided for using the technologies, with all six households rating it as ‘unsuitable’. One of the core suggestions in the report is that house builders should consider how their sales teams appeal to the imagination of purchasers and inspire them to interact effectively with the technologies. House builders should also actively seek feedback on operation, particularly when consumers’ lifestyles are compromised in any way by LZC technologies.

A copy of the primary research is available to view and download.

A massive thank you to our guest blogger, Andre Burgess, for this post.

This blog first appears on EMVC Solutions.

EMVC is an energy advisory business, delivering solutions in distributed, low carbon energy generation and energy efficiency services, including smart energy control and monitoring services.