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Homeowners still demanding sustainable products, survey finds


The green agenda remains strong among UK households, according to a new survey by builders’ merchant Gibbs & Dandy that found increasing levels of interest in environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies.


The research found that 34% of building and construction professionals have seen an increase in the amount of work they are quoting for that involves environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies. Meanwhile, 39% said they were quoting for a similar level of work.


In terms of the type of technologies that households are interested in, rainwater harvesting systems is the most popular (20.9%), followed by solar thermal (16.4%), air source heat pumps (15.8%), solar photovoltaic (14.7%), ground source heat pumps (12.4%) and biomass boilers (5.1%).


Andy Welch, Gibbs & Dandy’s business development manager for renewables & sustainability, said: “It’s positive news that UK households are still interested in environmentally friendly and energy saving technologies because they really do reduce energy bills and wastage, and result in lowering CO2 emissions.


“In terms of the technologies that trade professionals are working with, I think the popularity of rainwater harvesting is most likely down to it being a relatively easy install at the early stages of the development, which helps the developer when there is a need to make provisions for flood control. While the popularity of air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic is partly due to the government incentives available. Although these are not as attractive as they used to be, the need to achieve compliance within SAP has continued to drive this market. Biomass tends to be more suited for commercial installations due to the size of the units and storage space required for the pellets, subsequently the domestic residential market has always struggled.


“There are some very innovative products currently on the market with many more to come. In fact, in 2017, I expect there to be a rise in the installations of battery storage technology for use with solar PV. Improved quality battery storage technology means households will be able to better utilise the power generated during the day for use in the evenings. This will lead to reduced energy bills for homeowners as well as lower CO2 emissions.


“We do receive a lot of enquiries from self-builders as they are a key market for this type of technology, because it’s easier to build a property from scratch that incorporates such technologies rather than install into existing buildings.


“Gibbs & Dandy has invested in providing training to trade professionals in the renewable sector to help support the industry with knowledge, advice and products to support future growth in this market, but we’re seeing fewer tradesman looking to become installers. Instead it’s the professionals who have already made the transition or set themselves up in this area coming to us for additional training, so to an extent there are fewer people who have the knowledge which makes it a more specialist skill.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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