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Energy squeeze boosting appetite for ‘greener homes’

UK households are increasingly likely to go greener sooner as energy price rises push them to consider taking action to drive down costs, according to new research from Nationwide.


A survey of 2,000 homeowners at the end of January found that around seven in ten are planning to make their homes more energy efficient, and nearly half have already begun making changes.

The findings highlights how quickly perceptions around green home improvements, particularly when prices are rising, have changed in the last year. Eight in ten respondents said they were now more inclined to make energy efficiency improvements than they were six months ago. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), two thirds of adults in Britain reported their cost of living increasing in January due to rising energy prices.

Tipping point

Nationwide’s research shows that the tipping point at which the average household would consider taking action is an increase in energy bills of £45 per month, £11 lower than similar research conducted in July 2021.

Additionally, 71 per cent of respondents said their carbon footprint was important to them, nearly 10 per cent higher than in July 2021.

What homeowners want

Despite the increasing interest in energy efficiency and carbon reduction, the research shows that there is still widespread confusion around where to start, and significant uncertainty regarding costs.

While more than two thirds (68 per cent) of respondents said some form of grant would help them cover costs, more than half (54 per cent) also said a ‘one-stop shop’ providing impartial advice, or a ‘green skills’ register for trusted tradespeople, would encourage them to take action.

‘The time to act is now’

Claire Tracy, chief strategy and sustainability officer at Nationwide, said: “Ensuring our homes are better insulated and powered by cleaner energy is one of the best ways to protect against rising fuel prices. Our research tells us people want to make green home improvements to lower their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. But they need support. This can only be achieved through a national retrofitting programme, which has the full commitment of government and business and, most importantly, is fairly financed.

“As consumers brace themselves for higher energy prices, the time to act to make our homes more energy efficient is now. We stand ready to support and to work with others, in the spirit of mutuality, to help ensure that no household is left behind.”

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