Heat pumps "not on the radar" for house hunters

The ongoing cost of living crisis has brought our home's energy efficiency into sharp focus, with more of us than ever looking for ways we can change our habits, use less energy, and ultimately save money. From triple-glazing solar panels, there are many ways to make a home more energy efficient, however, some are proving less popular than others.

Related topics:  Energy Efficiency,  Home improvement,  Heating
Property | Reporter
7th March 2023
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"It’s clear that the misconceptions surrounding air source heat pumps, such as noise, cost and performance in cold temperatures, are slowing the adoption of this vital sustainable alternative"

According to research from Spitfire Homes, only 19% of customers would be willing to pay more to have an air source pump in a new home.

The Midland housebuilder’s research, involving more than 2,000 respondents, also showed that 37% preferred solar panels as a sustainable measure to generate renewable electricity. Air source heat pumps were the lowest priority choice, Spitfire said. This was against solar panels, smart heating systems, underfloor heating and car charging points.

The SME also said that one in six of survey participants did not prioritise “any sustainable features at all”.

Spitfire stated that air source heat pumps were four times more efficient than gas boilers, “significantly reducing CO2 emissions and saving homeowners on energy bills” through transferring energy from the outside air to water, heating rooms through radiators or underfloor heating. They also heat water stored in a cylinder for hot taps, showers and baths.

Air source heat pumps are set to increasingly become a feature of new homes with the advent of the Future Homes Standard, which from 2025 will dictate the provision of low carbon heating and other high energy efficiency measures.

Ben Leather, Spitfire Homes’ MD, said: “With the new legislation on gas boilers being introduced in less than two years, it’s concerning that air source heat pumps are not yet on the radar of the wish lists of prospective buyers.

“It’s clear that the misconceptions surrounding air source heat pumps, such as noise, cost and performance in cold temperatures, are slowing the adoption of this vital sustainable alternative. More needs to be done to educate house hunters of the benefits to encourage the switch before 2025.”

Leather said Spitfire had found that younger homeowners and buyers were “more turned off by unsustainable homes”, but older generations needed to be better informed of the benefits of purchasing a new build property, “none more so than the savings on energy bills”.

Last month, the Home Builders Federation released its latest Watt a Save report, showing that new build properties could save homeowners more than £3,000 on annual energy bills.

Leather also stated that “for the most part” SME housebuilders were driving the “real impetus around ESG” (environmental, social and governance). But he added that “we still need a collective commitment to wholesale investment into sustainable solutions, so the sector is forward-doing, not just forward-thinking."

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