A large share of European households possesses an old and inefficient heating system, which leads not only to high energy bills but also to a negative impact on the environment. One of the main reasons is the consumers’ lack of awareness of the efficiency of their heating application, as well as on the new alternative solutions available on the market. Planned replacement represents a solution to this challenge, and Solar Heat Europe has actively supporting planned replacement through its participation in the HARP (Heating Appliances Retrofit Planning) project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. The project recently launched an information campaign and an online tool to help end-consumers assess their heating system and find a better and more efficient solution.
Heat in European households and its impact
Heating and cooling represents 50% of the total energy consumption in Europe and a large amount of that energy goes into the residential sector. Space heating and hot water represent over 80% of the energy consumption in European households, and most of the appliances already installed are old and inefficient, contributing not only to higher greenhouse gas emissions but also to higher bills for consumers.
According to recent data from EHI (European Heating Industry), the EU space heating stock accounts roughly for 126 million installed appliances, 60% of which are over 15 years old and likely performing as a C or a lower energy class. More than that, the replacement rate of heating appliances in the EU is only 4% per year, and one of the main reasons behind is the lack of awareness among end consumers. Promoting planned replacement can play an important role in solving this challenge.
Creating awareness on planned replacement
Heating appliances have a long-life period, with an average above 15 years old. This means the decision to replace these appliances with newer and more efficient solutions does not happen very often. Most of the time, the heating system replacement is an emergency decision taken by the consumer when its current system breaks or does not work properly anymore. Efficient space and water heating solutions are available today, but consumers are rarely informed about the efficiency of the installation they have at home compared to the best appliances on the market.
Raising consumers’ awareness of the importance of planned replacement and the benefits of new heating solutions would accelerate the replacement rate that is currently low, reducing both the energy consumption in existing buildings and the budgets spent for it.
Planned replacement benefits not only the consumer but also the environment, as some of the most efficient domestic heating solutions are represented by renewable technologies such as solar thermal or geothermal. Taking into consideration that space heating and hot water represent the largest amount of energy consumed in households, replacing old and polluting heating appliances with renewables, will help reduce the carbon footprint of the residential sector significantly.
Solar Heat Europe’s commitment to the cause
Solar Heat Europe takes an active role in promoting the importance of planned replacement through its participation in the HARP (Heating Appliances Retrofit Planning) project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. The main objective of the project is to motivate individuals to plan the replacement of their often old and inefficient heating appliances, with more efficient alternatives, through communication campaigns and an online tool.
The online tool, that was recently launched, will help consumers to assess their current heating system and guide them in finding a more efficient alternative, encouraging as such an increase in the planned replacement of inefficient appliances.