Choosing renewable heating and cooling systems: new online tools for consumers

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The FROnT project is presenting several new tools aimed at supporting consumers to make informed choices on available heating and cooling systems for their households or small enterprises. The tools, available online, will help end-users to assess the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies (biomass, solar thermal, air-source heat pumps, and ground-source heat pumps) against traditional fossil fuels, and to evaluate which renewable solution is a better fit for their needs.

The Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC) Costs’ Calculation Tool has been developed to facilitate transparency and comparability of heating and cooling options. Based on the comparison of levelized costs of heating and cooling, the tool allows to estimate costs, payback period, and the environmental benefits of RHC technologies through a user-friendly interface. The methodology followed for the development of the tool is the result of an assessment of existing studies combined with the dialogue between FROnT partners and national experts.

The RHC Costs’ Calculation Tool is accompanied by a series of Guidelines on the use of the RHC costs’ estimation methodology and by a set of Frequently Asked Questions.

In addition to that, the Decision-Making Tool for Consumers uses a systematic process to guide the consumer through some targeted questions aimed at finding the best available RHC solutions. The tool is accompanied by information factsheets on available technologies and by an animated video which provides simple and clear information about heating and cooling services and their possible combinations.

The tools were developed following the extensive survey carried out by the consortium on end-users key purchasing factors for heating and cooling systems in five EU countries (Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom), which covered the residential, non-residential, and industry sectors. Based on the information provided by the survey, the primary objective of the tools is to improve communication towards the consumers and assist them on the purchase decision.

By using these tools, which translate complex topics into straightforward information, the consumer will be better prepared before consulting one or more professionals.

The tools are in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German and Polish.