Brits brave record cold indoors as costs soar: millions willing to cut heating to counter high energy bills.

A new report from clean energy-tech company, Aira, has revealed that Brits are considering alternative heating solutions, such as heat pumps, to combat rising energy costs and the cost-of-living crisis. Heat pumps are known to reduce home energy costs for Brits by 25% and household carbon emissions by at least 75%.  

  • 65% of Brits are considering, or have already decided, to turn down their heating this January.
  • A chilling 3.7 million people (7%) said they would turn their heating off entirely.
  • Over three-quarters (76%) of respondents cited high energy prices as the main reason for turning temperatures down – showing the growing financial pressures on households.
  • On average, Brits are willing to let their home get as cold as 11.3°C before they turn the heating on.
  • One in four (25%) Brits also pledged to spend less on food this year to help pay for heating costs, while 22% will spend less on clothes and 24% are cutting down on leisure activities.
  • There is a solution with clean energy-tech, as 11% of Brits – over 5.8 million – are considering the installation of a heat pump in 2024 to provide efficient and sustainable heating.

The New Year has heralded a frosty resolve across the nation, as millions turn to the growing trend of Thermal Thriftiness – the latest money-saving trend to combat rising home heating costs.

The new trend is revealed in a new social attitudes survey commissioned by Aira, a Swedish clean-energy company.

Despite the bone-chilling predictions of a severe January cold snap, the UK is steadfastly dialing down our domestic heating. Aira’s study reveals that 64% have made a pledge to lower their heating during the first month of the year, with 7% deciding to turn their heating off completely. The survey found that two-fifths (44%) of the UK say they expect temperatures at home to be the coldest they have ever lived in, as millions pledge to keep home heating low.

The research found that the chilling trend may last long into 2024 – as over a third (36%) assert they will maintain lower than normal home temperatures well into late February, undeterred by the prospects of cold conditions, even though 64% expect to get a cold and 52% anticipate flu-like symptoms to take hold.

When asked for the main reasons behind giving home heating the cold shoulder, financial pressures topped concerns, with 76% of survey participants citing high energy prices as a main concern. Simultaneously, 47% say more general personal finance concerns are an issue. Alongside a global call for climate action, 24% of respondents are driven by environmental concerns, acknowledging the need to decarbonise residential heating, which is the third largest source of CO2 emissions in Europe.

The data paints a picture of resilience and adaptability amidst challenging financial conditions, with Brits resorting to numerous strategies to keep warm without cranking up the heat. 68% are even willing to wear dressing gowns, 67% slippers, 66% extra layers and 65% are choosing extra socks before turning the heating on. Additionally, 25% of respondents who are lowering or turning off their heating say they will be wearing outdoor clothes, such as a hat and coat, inside to stay warm!

One in four (25%) of Brits have also pledged to spend less on food this year to help pay for heating costs, while 22% will spend less on clothes and 24% are cutting down on leisure activities. Meanwhile, another 9% are spending more time in heated public spaces like libraries, cafes, and community centres to stay toasty without touching the thermostat at home – and 3% are even moving in with family to save on costs.

The clean-energy tech solution 

The case for alternative home energy heating solutions is rapidly growing, with 11% – over 5.8 million Brits – considering the installation of a heat pump in 2024 to provide efficient, sustainable heating in the years to come.

Heat pumps are already the number one home energy solution in Scandinavian countries – such as Sweden, which is known for its harsh winters and has recently experienced record low winter temperatures – and provide reliable, clean energy for homes while slashing CO2 emissions and home heating bills in the process.

Despite this,130 million European households still use gas and oil boilers to heat their homes, with 25 million in the UK, a practice that constitutes 16% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.

Martin Lewerth, Aira Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “This research is a stark reminder that households continue to struggle with the demands of soaring energy prices and an over-reliance on imported fossil fuels. At Aira, we believe the solution is the electrification of residential heating. We want to make heat pumps accessible and affordable for the many and provide a hassle-free, all-inclusive plan with a low monthly fee. Switching from a gas boiler to a heat pump will help families save 25% on their heating bills and reduce household emissions by at least 75% – a number that rises to 100% with fossil-free energy – without requiring any lifestyle changes

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