A majority of Scots fear the costs to their own household budgets for the country to reach net zero, a new survey has found.

Research for Consumer Scotland, the statutory and independent body for consumers, found that two thirds of adults - 66% - are concerned about the expense of big ticket green items such as heat pumps.

The study noted that people regard renewable technologies as better for the environment, but more costly to install and run.

Indeed it noted that the homebuilding and renovation sector put the cost for an air source heat pump installation on a new build property would be between £8,000 to £16,000 and potentially as much as £28,000 on an existing property. It said the latter figure is "at the top end of estimates" and would include upgrading radiators and replacing pipework.

The report also found that the sector also estimates the cost of installing a ground source heat pump would be around £14,000 to £25,000 or possibly more if a large borehole collector is required. It said these figures compares to "the average cost for purchasing and installing a standard combi boiler being between £2,000 to £3,000 for a simple gas boiler replacement".

The study stated: "Cost was...identified as a significant barrier to change across a range of actions including driving a hybrid or electric vehicle, having renewable technology in their home and installing a heat pump."

It went on to add that the survey results are significant because more than 60% of the required emissions reductions to meet net zero will be “predicated on some kind of individual or societal behavioural change” noting research by the Centre for Climate Change.

"The Scottish Government’s overall approach is based on an assumption that higher impact emissions savings will need to come from behavioural changes, so increased public engagement on domestic emissions reductions will be fundamental to success," it said.

"However, current levels of awareness of what is required are low, which sits alongside poor public understanding of the issues."

The Scottish Government has estimated that undertaking energy efficiency upgrades and installing low carbon heating systems in homes could cost around £33 billion over the period to 2045.

The report warned: "Consumers and businesses across the UK are facing significant financial pressures due to high inflation and declining real disposable household incomes.

"This holds the potential to lead to increased likelihood of vulnerability being experienced by a wider range of consumers in Scotland.

"As a result, to be a success, the transition to net zero will require financial incentives and dedicated support for many consumers, including small and medium sized businesses."

The report found that 77% of adults in Scotland are concerned about climate change with just 21% stating they are unconcerned and only 9% stating they are not at all concerned.

However, only 34% agreed they know what to do to help Scotland reach net zero, with 33% disagreeing and a further 34% saying they were unsure.

The Scottish and UK governments have both made commitments to achieving net zero emissions so that by 2045 in Scotland (2050 in the rest of the UK) the country will no longer be adding to the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Consumer Scotland commissioned a survey of current attitudes across a range of markets including energy, water, postal deliveries, household goods, food and drink, transportation, and holidays.

Some 91% said they are already saving energy at home through low cost measures such as switching off lights and turning down heating thermostats and just over half 54% reported improving their property’s energy performance, for example through better insulation or replacing doors or windows.

However, there was far less engagement with more significant interventions with only 10% having some form of renewable energy at home and most (82%) reporting they do not drive a hybrid or electric vehicle.

In some cases lack of information was cited as a reason. For example just under a quarter (23%) stated they did not know enough about heat pumps to be able to form a view.

The survey also highlighted consumer perceptions that some simple environmentally friendly actions are ineffective.

Only 32% consider turning off the tap while brushing teeth, shaving, or washing and 31% believe ensuring dishwashers and washing machines are full before running may be ineffective at reducing the environmental impact.

And while some sustainable transport options have already been adopted by consumers with 70% choosing to walk or cycle and 60% trying to reduce their car mileage, only a minority are influenced by the environment when it comes to booking a holiday.

Chief Executive of Consumer Scotland Sam Ghibaldan said: “The Scottish and UK governments both have statutory commitments to achieving net zero emissions and have made clear that for that transition to be a success, all sectors will need to play their part in tackling climate change.

“Our survey shows consumers are concerned about climate change and many are making changes to how they live their lives to make a positive contribution to reaching net zero.

“However, it is clear consumers need better information on low carbon alternatives to enable them to make informed choices about how and what they buy, how they use energy and water at home and how they travel.

“Financial support for those that need it would also help drive change where greener alternatives are seen as expensive. Consumers look to governments and businesses to provide leadership, guidance and solutions for tackling climate change. It is key therefore that governments and business work to help consumers in the net zero transition, making it easy for them to change habits and behaviours.

“The public needs clear information about everyday changes that make a difference, and more needs to be done to make sustainable alternatives affordable and accessible. This will be key to enabling low carbon options to compete with the more familiar, less sustainable, options that dominate currently.”

The Scottish Government remains significantly behind a target due to be met in 2020 for 11% of homes to have renewable heating systems installed – with the initial target due to double to 22% by 2030.

The Green minister for zero carbon buildings Patrick Harvie is aiming to change how one million Scottish homes are heated by 2030 - with the Scottish Government’s preferred option to scale up the number of heat pumps, run off renewable electricity, being installed.

In August Mr Harvie told The Herald that millions of homes will need to clean up heating systems “at a pace and scale that is consistent with Scotland’s legal climate targets”.

In a shake-up of energy efficiency standards from 2025, certain trigger points such as the sale of a home, will mean properties will need to meet EPC band C energy efficiency standards, while new fossil fuel boilers will be banned in new buildings from next April.

The Consumer Scotland survey was delivered across two work streams. The first workstream comprised an energy and water sectors survey, with fieldwork taking place between February 24 and 28. A total of 2,269 completed responses were achieved.

The second workstream comprised a pilot survey covering general consumer markets with fieldwork taking place between and March 7 to 9. A total of 622 completed responses were achieved.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said:  "We are committed to tackling climate change and doing so in a way that’s fair and leaves no one behind.

“Switching to low-carbon heating is essential to meet our legal climate targets supported by all parties and has the potential to cut costs for all of us in the long run.

“Of all the UK nations, Scotland has the most generous funding package of grants and loans available to households that want to switch to climate-friendly heating systems. We have also recently relaunched our programme to improve the homes of people living in fuel poverty, including more help for households to install a climate-friendly heating system.”

The Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan scheme can help with the cost of installing both heat pumps and energy efficiency improvements. Grant funding for heat pumps is up to £7,500 or £9,000 for households which qualify for a rural uplift. Up to a further £7,500 is available as an interest-free loan.

Warmer Homes Scotland offers funding and support to households struggling to stay warm and keep on top of energy bills. The programme is accessed via Home Energy Scotland and is delivered by Warmworks. The contract for Warmer Homes Scotland has a maximum value of up to £728 million over a seven year period.