- The Greener Homes Attitude Tracker finds half of UK households struggling with higher gas and electricity prices – resulting in a drop in the number planning to make sustainable changes in the home
- The cost of having the work done was by far the greatest barrier to sustainable home improvements, cited by 71% of homeowners not planning improvements in the next 10 years
- The tracker was introduced to gain a deeper understanding of homebuyers’ preferences – these insights have formed NatWest’s work with Government to propose policies that can support the energy efficiency of people’s homes
The latest research from NatWest and S&P Global has revealed that half of households (50%) are not confident in being able to afford higher gas and electricity prices, meaning the extension of the UK Government's Energy Price Guarantee to June comes at a critical time. As a result, 71% of homeowners not planning sustainable home improvements in the next 10 years stated that the cost of having the work done was a specific barrier.
While homeowners are keen to make changes that will save money and combat climate change, with almost half of the UK turning down the thermostat in their homes (48% and over a 10 % year on year increase) the opening quarter of 2023 saw a further decrease in the proportion of homeowners planning to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property both in the next 12 months and over the next ten years, in a continuation of the decline seen late last year.
Small steps to a greener home?
Although there has been a reduction in plans to make bigger changes, homeowners are still looking to make cost saving changes where possible. Almost half (48%) of households reported turning down the thermostat to reduce energy bills as a result of the rising cost of living, making it the most common energy-saving action.
As well as the latest data showing a lack of confidence on higher energy and gas bills, the tracker found that less than one-third (29%) of respondents were able to correctly identify how the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) was set to change in April. This was prior to the announcement of an extension. 12% believed the new EPG would have meant a cap on bills of £3,000 per year irrespective of energy use.
The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will be kept at £2,500 for an additional three months from April to June, saving a typical household £160.
Lloyd Cochrane, Head of Mortgages at NatWest said: “Our data has shown that homeowners continue to be affected by increased costs, in particular gas and electricity bills - an ongoing worry over the last year. The extension of the UK Government's Energy Price Guarantee to June comes at a critical time, with half of households stating they were not confident in being able to afford to be paying higher energy bills.
“We also know that homeowners are keen to make changes that will save money and combat climate change – but the costs of making these changes remain a barrier for homeowners. These insights have formed part of our work across industry, through public private partnerships, and our engagement with Government to propose policies that can work positively to support consumers improve the energy efficiency of their homes. It is key that we support customers financially, so they are not held back from boosting demand for energy efficient products and services.”
The tracker also found that:
- Almost a fifth (19%) of prospective homebuyers said that an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above was essential
- Prospective homebuyers aged 35-44 were the most likely to say that an EPC rating of C or above was an 'essential’ feature (24%), while those aged 18-24 were the least likely (13%)
- Over a quarter (28%) of prospective homebuyers stated that loft insulation was an ‘essential’ environmental feature
NatWest is working with industry partners Worcester Bosch, Citizens Advice 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.
Greener Homes Retrofit
NatWest is currently helping to fund a series of greener home retrofit pilots for 9 customers across the UK, taking customers on the journey from consideration of these improvements to making them a reality to inform future products.
Find out more about the Greener Homes Retrofit pilot - Greener homes retrofit project | NatWest.
Download the latest Greener Homes Attitude Tracker (PDF 2.6MB).