Green, effective, and convenient: renewable heating can be a way to do good by you as well as the planet. The latest consumer analysis from Coolproducts shows that the switch to heat pumps is keeping 85% of European users well within their comfort zones – physically, financially, and environmentally.
When we talk about renewable heating, we speak of heat pumps and solar thermal heating, both of which are among the best technologies readily available for heating decarbonisation, with rising popularity in the European market in recent years. Despite this, the transition to heat pump solutions has been crawling due to the lack of incentives, information, and doubts among potential consumers about the comfort that heat pump technology can bring to their lives.
However, while lack of information and incentives are true, lack of comfort has not been an issue with heat pump users. In fact, the majority of users are satisfied with their switch to heat pumps, both for their wallets and their home life: these are the findings of a recent study by Coolproducts, based on the experience of over 670 surveyed and 40 interviewed heat pump users across 22 countries.
Warming up to renewable energy from heat pumps
Regardless of weather conditions, house type and motivations, 88% of respondents are happy with their switch to heat pumps.
The study highlights that heat pumps can deliver the same, if not more (according to 81% of respondents), comfort than gas/oil boilers. Moreover, the mighty heat pump is no one trick pony and doubles as an effective cooling system by pumping out the heat during hot summer days.
While many respondents were environmentally motivated in their switch to heat pumps and break away from fossil fuel or gas boilers (especially in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK), many users also made the switch to reduce their energy bills, and to reduce the hassle with traditional heating (e.g. getting rid of the oil or biomass supply).
The operating cost has not changed much for most regions, including in colder climates. 64% of respondents found that the switch to heat pump has even found it more economical. In cases of slightly higher running costs, the impact of prices on comfort and satisfaction was low. With gas prices more than quadrupled since last year, switching off the gas boilers for a heat pump unit might even be financially wise, and any government interested in breaking gas dependency and solving energy poverty should be warming up to the electric solution.
Get policy makers in the hot seat
The European Commission estimates that the EU should reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 60% to reach the EU’s 2030 climate target.
Renewable heating, together with building renovation and energy efficiency measures, are currently the best-positioned climate solution to deliver these goals on time. At the EU level, a standard family switching from a gas boiler to renewable heating can save more than 60% of the annual CO2 emissions, according to Coolproducts.
Comfortable, decent running costs, and environmentally friendly heat pumps are holding all the keys to being the heating (and cooling) solution of the future. However, the biggest barrier remains the upfront cost and lacking support from governments. A 2021 study reveals that switching to renewable heating is only affordable in 8 EU countries. Major leaps in policies are needed urgently to keep Europe on track with its environmental and geopolitical strategies, starting with the humble but powerful heat pump.
First and foremost, to make heat pump affordable for everyone, Member States must increase subsidies by at least €70 billion, an extra mile that could be reduced to €20 billion if a CO2 tax of 100 €/ton was introduced, as estimated by a recent study on behalf of the Coolproducts campaign.
Secondly, the (green) power lies in information. Users across Europe should know more about the mighty heat pump, and the role it can play in the environmental and energy crises we face. Qualified services should be in place, and heating and cooling experts should be equipped with the knowledge as well.
Finally, there should be more information campaigns on national subsidies, tax credits, soft loans, and special electricity tariffs to homeowners.
Switching to renewable heating is inevitable, and we have the solution on our hands. It is now time to turn up the heat on policy makers and demand a green energy transition for all.
Source: EEB / Meta