As much as 96% of the UK’s population has not heard of or does not understand the Green Deal, the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme that is due to launch early next year.

In a survey by electrical distribution company Rexel, 61% of UK adults said they had not heard of the Green Deal while 35% did not understand it.

This was in spite of three quarters of survey respondents saying they were concerned by rising energy bills and almost 70% saying they were interested in making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

The first consumer finance scheme for the Green Deal is due to go live on January 28, but Rexel said a lack of awareness threatened to hold the initiative back.

Brian Smithers, Director of Rexel UK, said: “With more than nine in ten adults confessing that they have never heard of or don’t understand the Green Deal, it’s no wonder that [Energy Minister] Greg Barker was recently forced to admit that that no assessments had been carried out and only 12 providers have signed up to the scheme to date.”

Smithers said the industry needed to educate business owners and consumers about the benefits of energy-saving measures and the role of the Green Deal.

Meanwhile, separate research published by market research company D&G Consulting has calculated that upgrading 19 million doors in UK households under the Green Deal could help reduce consumers’ bills while meeting the scheme’s so-called ‘golden rule’ – that the costs of improvements should not exceed the total savings over the lifetime of the measure.

D&G’s research calculated that with 31 million doors over 10 years old installed in UK homes, consumers could generate energy savings by upgrading to newer, more energy efficient doors.

David Amos of D&G Consulting, which produced the report, said: “Although it is due to be launched in January, the Green Deal is still very much a work in progress. But the fact remains that in most cases replacing an old entrance door with an energy efficient door will save homeowners money, whether they use the scheme to fund it or not.”