Scots Embrace ‘Thermal Thriftiness’ Amid Soaring Energy Costs

16/01/2024
Setting Thermostat to Lower Temperature To Save Energy
Setting Thermostat to Lower Temperature To Save Energy

Survey Highlights a Chilling Trend

As the New Year unfolds, an increasing number of Scots are adopting ‘Thermal Thriftiness’—a trend of enduring the cold to save on heating costs. This movement has been spotlighted by a recent social attitudes survey conducted by Aira, a Swedish clean-energy firm. The study indicates that a significant 69% of Scots have committed to reducing their heating throughout January, with a notable 16% opting to switch it off entirely.

Bracing for the Coldest Indoor Temperatures

The survey sheds light on the expectation of more than half of the Scottish population to experience the coldest indoor temperatures they’ve ever faced. Despite the forecast of a harsh January cold snap, many are determined to keep their heating at a minimum into the foreseeable future, with 40% planning to continue this practice well into late February, regardless of the risk of cold-related illnesses.

Financial and Environmental Concerns Drive Down Heating

Financial strain emerges as the primary motivator for the reduction in heating usage, with 80% of participants citing soaring energy costs as their chief worry. Concerns over personal finances were also significant for 43% of respondents, while 34% recognized the environmental imperative to reduce CO2 emissions from residential heating.

Scots Employ Creative Strategies to Stay Warm

In the face of economic challenges, Scots are demonstrating resilience by finding alternative ways to keep warm. The majority are resorting to wearing dressing gowns (66%), slippers (54%), and additional layers (69%) to fend off the cold. Some 18% are even donning outdoor clothing indoors as part of their strategy to stay warm without increasing the thermostat.

The Rise of Heat Pumps as a Sustainable Solution

With the trend towards lower domestic temperatures, the interest in sustainable heating solutions like heat pumps is escalating. Approximately 750,000 Scots are contemplating the installation of a heat pump in 2024, a technology that has proven successful in Scandinavian countries and offers a cleaner, more efficient alternative to traditional heating methods.

Europe’s Reliance on Fossil Fuels for Heating

Despite the advantages of heat pumps, a vast number of European households, including 25 million in the UK, continue to rely on gas and oil boilers. This practice is responsible for a significant portion of the UK’s CO2 emissions, highlighting the need for a shift towards electrification of residential heating.

Aira’s CEO Calls for Electrification of Heating

Martin Lewerth, CEO of Aira Group, emphasizes that the research serves as a stark reminder of the struggles faced by households amidst rising energy prices and dependency on imported fossil fuels. Lewerth advocates for the electrification of residential heating, proposing heat pumps as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution that requires no lifestyle changes, promising substantial savings on bills and a dramatic reduction in household emissions.

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