Renewable energy experts have identified a ‘Green Gap’ amongst the British public

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New research conducted by utility and environmental consultancy Gemserv has identified huge demand from British households to ‘Go Green’ and produce their own energy.

Gemserv’s study of over 2000 British adults found that 61% of homeowners would consider installing means to generating their own energy, whether that is by using solar PV panels, installing air source heat pumps, using biomass fuel or harnessing the power of nature by using hydro power.

Experts have dubbed the gulf between consumers’ eagerness to embrace renewable energy technologies and their lack of knowledge about it – ‘The Green Gap’. If we were able to bridge the ‘Green Gap’ we could potentially save approximately 15 million tonnes of CO2 per year**.

Despite the UK’s appetite for renewable energy, Gemserv’s research found that the widespread lack of awareness about installation, cost savings and benefits is stopping people from reducing their carbon footprints.

In these challenging economic times, expense was understandably a big consideration, 57% of homeowners who would not consider installing any of the renewable initiatives from a list they were shown said it is too expensive and 32% of people were unsure how much money they could save and/or earn from renewable energy sources. A further 65% of Brits weren’t aware of the government’s financial incentive for generating renewable energy.

There is also considerable confusion around the government’s landmark Green Deal. With the majority of consumers (54%) unable to correctly identify that the Deal is related to energy efficiency initiatives. Worryingly, 14% of consumers thought the Green Deal related to protecting national forests and outdoor spaces and 9%, increasing the number of hybrid cars on the UK roads.

Gemserv’s research also indicated that there is more to do to gain consumer buy-in to the government’s Carbon Plan, as there is still a sizeable proportion of the population that remains unmoved by environmental concerns. The UK’s 26 million homes are responsible for 14% of its greenhouse gas emissions*, yet over a quarter (28%) of British homeowners would not consider installing energy efficiency measures in their homes, such as double glazing, efficient boilers or loft and wall insulation, despite the associated cost savings.

CEO of Gemserv David Thorne says: “I am encouraged by some of these findings as I am delighted that nearly half the population would like to install renewable energy technologies; what worries me is the lack of fundamental awareness surrounding it. To bridge the Green Gap it’s essential we continue to educate consumers and break down some of the myths surrounding the Green Deal, energy efficiency and microgeneration.”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2022 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd – 4th August 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

*The 2009 final UK greenhouse gas emissions figures, available at:

**Source: Energy Saving Trust. Calculation based on 48% of the UK’s 26.2 m households saving 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per year by using a 2.7 kWp solar PV system.

About Gemserv

Gemserv is a specialist market design, governance and assurance services consultancy, providing high quality impartial advice to competitive utility and environmental markets and their participants. It delivers high quality end-to-end services to its clients, from policy development and initial governance frameworks, through to solution design, build and maintenance, as well as accreditation/assurance schemes and intelligent secretariat provision.

Established in 2002, emerging from the introduction of domestic retail competition in electricity, Gemserv works with a range of clients including pan-industry bodies and trade associations, to sector regulators and government departments. Successful projects include the effective governance of the national UK electricity customer switching regime (the Master Registration Agreement), working with the Carbon Trust to design, develop & manage its consultancy services accreditation scheme, relaunch & operation of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, and the design & implementation of competition to the Scottish water market.

Gemserv also has a security management division. Red Island Consulting is Europe’s leading information security consultancy, advising global, blue-chip corporations, government bodies, telcos, hi-techs and SMEs on their security strategies, benchmarking to quality standards such as ISO27001, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and BS25999 amongst others.

Gemserv helps its clients adapt to the evolving fiscal, security and environmental pressures and demands within their industries including those driven by changing Government or regulatory requirements and new technological developments.

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