Consumers across the UK are demanding greater control from their heating system, as new research by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) shows one in five households lack even a basic thermostat or radiator valve.

Smart heating systems could unlock a whole new era for the heating industry, with nearly half of the country’s households saying they’re interested in intelligent thermostats.

Among the trends highlighted in the EST's latest UK Pulse survey of consumer habits, is that the growth in smartphones and app-based technology has created a new demand for boilers that can be controlled via mobile devices, while others seek systems that offer greater level of manual control, such as timers, valves and thermostats.

The findings come as the EST's independent list of energy saving products celebrates adding its 1,000th product to the database, something EST says makes it an essential tool for installers, housing and construction professionals, building managers and retailers alike.

Elaine Berry, client relationship manager at the EST, said: "Increasingly, we live in a society where people demand that products and devices fit around their lifestyle, delivering comfort, convenience and control with the minimum of fuss.

“It is vital that industry is aware of these new consumer engagement opportunities. With increasingly diverse ranges of products available, the Energy Saving Trust register provides buyers and procurement managers with essential information to guide their decisions.

“While we might be coming into warmer weather, now is the ideal time to start planning marketing campaigns for when the colder spells return.”

Ms Berry said the extra reassurance this provides consumers is especially useful given many admit they don’t understand their heating system.

“Our research clearly shows consumers are now prioritising comfort, convenience and control, presenting an excellent opportunity for industry,” she said.

“We found that the need for convenience and comfort results in half of the UK’s households leaving the heating on all day, just to make sure they aren’t cold when they get home. Clearly, these consumers lack the control of their system to ensure they get the comfort and convenience from their system.

“Furthermore, through UK Pulse we’ve found that more than a quarter of all homes don’t have heating controls installed, so the heating is simply on or off – with no way to determine the temperature the house is heated to, or even which rooms are heated.

“Making use of these insights and the reassurance the Energy Saving Trust register offers is the best way to educate consumers on their energy use and help them achieve a comfortable home with the minimum of fuss.”

The latest UK Pulse study also revealed that:

A fifth of all householders admit their existing heating system is ‘very difficult’ to control

  • A quarter say their system is old and inefficient
  • A quarter of householders will invest in a secondary heating system because their existing thermostat is too cumbersome to understand
  • Forty percent of householders say they are planning to install new heating controls in the long-term.

To find out more about the EST register, visit