Surging bills speeding up homeowners’ energy efficiency journey
The latest Greener Homes Attitudes Tracker shows that nearly half of UK homeowners are more likely to implement energy saving measures over the next 12 months.
05 Oct 2022
40% of homebuyers rated EPC rating a ‘very important’ factor driven by cost of living concerns – up from 30% this time last year
Around half of homeowners stated that the rise in the cost of living has made them more likely to speed up their plans to implement energy saving measures over the next 12 months.
The latest research from NatWest and S&P Global has revealed that almost half (40%) of consumers looking to buy a property in the next decade considered a property's EPC rating a very important factor – a 10 percentage point increase year on year.
The Greener Homes Attitudes Tracker is conducted on a quarterly basis. The tracker, based on responses from 4,500 people across the UK in Q3, gives a deeper understanding of homeowners and homebuyers’ attitudes towards certain environmental features and energy saving improvements of their homes.
Sustainable home changes versus cost of living – will it make the boat go faster?
Around half of homeowners stated that the rise in the cost of living due to factors such as higher energy bills, food prices, fuel prices and interest rates had made them more likely to implement energy saving measures over the next year.
Almost two thirds (68%) of UK homeowners now plan to upgrade their property over the next 10 years in a bid to reduce energy bills. This stat has grown over 10% since last summer (52%), showing Brits are now keen to implement these changes sooner to tackle soaring bills.
Prior to the Government’s recent announcement on the energy cap, our data shows that the majority of people in the UK (55%) didn’t feel the £400 discount would help in impacting mounting energy costs. Breaking the data down by income group showed that those earning between £23k to £34k per year were the hardest hit and most likely to feel that there wasn’t enough support in place.
Research from Citizens Advice has shown that annual savings would total £8.1 billion per year if all homes were upgraded to an energy performance (EPC) rating of C. For those in the least efficient homes, this would equate to nearly £1,000 per year per household. At the moment people living in Wales, the West Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber face the highest energy costs. Almost two thirds (63%) of homes in these areas have EPC ratings below band C. Households in London and the South East are most likely to be in a better position, but more than 50% of homes in these regions still have EPC ratings below C.
What can we do now?
When respondents were asked what measures they’re taking to reduce household bills in the short term, the data found:
Almost half (44%) of households are making a larger effort to switch off i.e lights, tv, radio – that would have been left on without much thought in the past
41% of households will avoid overfilling the kettle in a bid to reduce bills where possible – only filling enough for one cuppa
Over a third (38%) have reduced the use of water, taking shorter showers and avoiding the use of dishwashers to keep costs down – as well as air drying clothes to avoid the tumble dryer
One in five (21%) are now using their microwave as an oven
The survey meanwhile showed a continued steady increase in the use of green banking products. One in-ten reported already having green savings or investments, up from 6% a year ago, with a similar rise in the uptake of green mortgages (7% from 3%).
Greener Homes Retrofit
As part of NatWest’s aim to be the leading UK bank helping to address the climate challenge, the bank is helping to fund a series of greener home retrofit pilots for 10 customers across the UK, taking customers on the journey from consideration of these improvements to making them a reality to inform future products. Through the Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition, NatWest is working with industry partners Worcester Bosch and British Gas to assess the EPC rating of their properties and install appropriate solutions to improve energy efficiency and cut emissions such as insulation upgrades, heat pumps and solar panels.
Lloyd Cochrane, Head of Mortgages at NatWest said: “Our Q3 sentiment tracker shows how the sharp increases in energy bills and the cost of living more generally has made energy efficiency much more important to consumers’ everyday lives. We launched the tracker last year to provide better insight into consumer sentiment in this area, informing our products and services and how we can best support customers.
“The data has also shown a marked increase in the importance of the EPC rating of a property when prospective homeowners are looking at buying a new home. As well as informing our support for customers these insights form part of our work across industry and our engagement with Government to propose policies that can work positively to support consumers improve the energy efficiency of their homes”