6th EHPA Forum discusses heat pump labelling: consumers willing to pay for better environmental ratings
Around 150 participants gathered on 15 May 2013 in Brussels, Belgium for the 6th EHPA (European Heat Pump Forum). In addition to presentations on the role of heat pumps in balancing energy demand and a debate about their continued existence without f-gases, Antonia Dickmanlooked at heat pumps from the consumer perspective asking “How interested are consumers in renewable heat and what impact can energy labelling have?”
Although heat pumps are currently a niche technology in many EU countries, they are expected to form a necessary part of Europe’s low carbon future. Renewable heat policies alone however, will not be able to shift heat pumps to the mainstream. At the EHPA (European Heat Pump Forum) Forum held earlier this month, Antonia Dickman looked at the impact of energy labelling on consumer purchases, and whether these could be used to help influence the heat pump uptake.
To answer the question, “could labelling help consumers make more informed choices?” Antonia Dickman’s presentation looked at two key studies:
DECC, More Efficient Heating Study - a GB case study DG Energy, Study into EU product label options
Untapped market potential for heat pumps in those that “don’t know” about renewable heating
The “More Efficient Heating Study” indicates that UK consumers are wedded to their gas boilers. The study survey of around 2,900 British homeowners points to gas as the default heating choice, and that most British consumers know little about renewable heating and cooling options. Although two thirds of respondents indicate that they have heard of solar thermal heating, 7 in 10 say they have never heard of ground source heat pumps.
The study also brought to light the large section of consumers who have “no opinion” or “don’t know”, suggesting there is a large untapped market potential for heat pumps to become seen as “fairly positive” to “very positive” by consumers.
How can we help inform consumers to make more environmentally friendly choices?
The second study presented by Ms Dickman was conducted by IPSOS Mori for DG Energy on EU Product Label Options, and looked at how consumers might be helped by labelling to make more environmentally friendly choices.
The online research targeted 6000 consumers to investigate the impact of adding more indicators to the energy labels of goods such as washing machines, TVs and light bulbs. Would consumers make different purchasing choices if a simple indicator displaying a good’s water consumption, carbon footprint, and/or resource use was added? How would such an indicator affect willingness to pay?
Results showed that consumers are more likely to choose environmentally products with the added label indicators and are also more likely to bid more.
Interestingly, there was no preference for either the added water, carbon footprint or resource use indicators. What was important was that the environmental impact of the product was clearly labelled. Given that environmental information has to compete with lots of other information, consumers may benefit from having easy-to understand short cuts in the form of logos that simplify the environmental rating of the product.
Is the current Energy Label enough to stimulate heat pump market
The IPSOS research begs the question is the Energy Label too complex? Would an overall environmental rating appeal more to consumers? Whilst such label may be less useful for lower cost household products, the IPSOS study indicates that for white good this might be the case.
The impact such environmental rating labels have on heat pump purchases however, in the end will depend on getting the information to consumer. Currently installers and developers are more often than not the intermediaries who purchase products such as heat pumps, so how can knowledge about environmental ratings be put ot best use?
About the EHPA
The European Heat Pump Association was established in 2000 to promote awareness and proper deployment of heat pump technology in the European market place. EHPA promotes heat pumps in residential, commercial and industrial applications by providing technical and economic input to European, national and local authorities.
Original article: http://coleni0027.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/crown-eco-capital-management-gas-boiler-technology/
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