Over half the country are very concerned about rising energy prices, with more than 80% saying they think a lot about how they can save energy in the home, according to a new survey from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

The DECC Public Attitudes Tracking survey has been set up to monitor public attitudes to a range of issues including climate change, energy security, and energy efficiency. The survey will be repeated four times a year, to monitor how the public’s attitude change over time.

The results are based on face-to-face interviews carried out on behalf of DECC by TNS UK. A representative sample of 2,121 adults aged 16+ were interviewed between 21 and 25 March, 2012.

Only 2% of those questioned felt that energy supply or climate change was one of the biggest challenges facing Britain today, compared to the 43% who highlighted the issue of unemployment.

Some 51% were very concerned about steep rises in energy prices, while only 19% of people said they were very concerned about climate change.

An overwhelming 82% of those asked said they gave either ‘a lot’, or ‘a fair amount’ of thought to how they can save energy in the home. Nevertheless, 64% admitted to boiling the kettle with more water than they need, and just under half (47%) said they ever left the heating on when going out for a few hours. Almost a third also said they tried to keep rooms they were not using cooler than those they were, in order to save money.

DECC also asked about low-carbon heat measures. While 79% said they supported the use of renewable energy to provide electricity, fuel and heat, 47% of those questioned said they had never heard of an air source heat pump, with 41% never having heard of a ground source heat pump.

Almost 20% said they had not thought about installing one, and that they did not want to. A similar percentage felt the same about biomass boilers and microCHP, suggesting that there is a long way to go before such energy-efficient measures have a wide take up across the country.