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Energy efficient housing tracker - July 2022 Update

Consumer attitudes towards greener homes

We commissioned the 'Greener Homes Attitude Tracker', based on 4,500 UK individuals, to understand how homebuyers, renters and owners feel about greener homes and the importance of environmental features.

Our key findings for greener homes

EPC rating

39% of homebuyers looking to move in the next 10 years said that a property’s EPC rating was a ‘very important’ factor.

Energy efficiency

14% of homeowners said that the temporary cut in VAT on energy saving measures has made them ‘a lot more likely’ to implement changes over the next 5 years.

Solar panels

Solar panels are top of the wishlist of energy saving items for renters. 61% of renters said they would like them installed.

EV charging point

More than half of households looking to purchase a home now consider an EV charging point is an important property feature.

Green home improvements index

The latest Green Home Improvements Index showed a further increase in the proportion of homeowners planning to make upgrades to the environmental sustainability of their main property over the next 12 months, up from 22% in the three months to March to 23% in Q2. The proportion has risen markedly from just 14% during the same period last year.

The percentage of homeowners planning to make improvements over the next decade has been unchanged over the past nine months, however, staying at around 63%.

Energy performance certificate (EPC) ranking

The importance of a property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating to prospective homebuyers has meanwhile increased. Those stating it was a 'very important' feature rose from 36% in Q1 to 39% in the three months to June. This moved it up one place in the rankings above access to public transport (35% stated 'very important'), leaving it just below both air quality (41%) and amount of local green space (40%).

Energy efficient home improvements

There has been an increase in the likelihood of homeowners implementing energy saving measures over the next 12 months, the latest Greener Homes Attitude Tracker shows, driven in part by concerns over the rising cost of living and a greater focus on global energy security.

Younger homeowners in particular have plans to make upgrades, as they look to bring their properties up to standard in terms of energy efficiency and show a greater willingness to adopt newer technologies.

Energy efficiency seen as a way to ease cost of living pressures

  • The rise in the cost of living is found to be a factor, with 23% of homeowners stating they were 'a lot more likely' to implement energy efficiency measures around the home in the next 12 months as a result.
  • A further 29% said they were 'a little more likely', indicating that the majority of homeowners believe that greening their property is a way to potentially alleviate the pressure on monthly bills.

Zero VAT on the installation of energy saving materials

From the 1st April 2022, the UK Government reduced the VAT on the installation of energy saving materials from 5% to zero for five years, as part of efforts to aid the transition to greener homes. However, only around one-in-seven (14%) said this had made them 'a lot more likely' to install or make upgrades to the energy efficiency of their main property in the next five years, whilst almost the majority (47%) stated it 'makes no difference'.

Electric car charging point tops the list for installation in the next 10 years

According to the latest survey, around 10% of owner occupied properties now have an electric car charging point, up from 5% in Q3 last year. It also tops the list of the items that are most likely to be installed over the next decade, with 40% of homeowners indicating they have plans to do so.

Which energy saving features would renters most like to see installed?

Top of the wish list were solar panels, which were selected by 61% of renters that are currently living in a property without them. They were followed by double-glazed windows (53%) and energy efficient lighting (39%).

Homebuyer Preferences

The importance of a property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating to prospective homebuyers has grown noticeably over the past year, although it still remains a low priority compared to cost, features and location.

EV charging points

As more people chose electric vehicles over conventional combustion engines, the need for an EV charging point has also increased, with more than half of households looking to purchase a home now considering it an important property feature.

Energy saving features becoming more desirable to prospective homebuyers

Since starting the survey, we have seen energy saving features generally becoming more desirable to prospective homebuyers, and none more so than solar panels.

  • 13% saw solar panels as an 'essential' property feature, according to the Q2 data, up from just 5% one year ago.

Double-glazed windows has seen a reduction in its perceived importance

In fact, of the features surveyed, only double-glazed windows has seen a reduction in its perceived importance over the past 12 months, with the proportion of those saying that it is essential dropping from 42% in June 2021 to 35% in Q2 2022 (although this was still the highest overall). 

  • This partly reflects the growing importance placed on the more energy efficient triple-glazing alternative (14% stated 'essential' from 10% in Q3 2021).

Green lifestyle choices

More and more UK households are looking to minimise home energy use, with the recent surge in gas and electricity prices providing an added incentive to try to cut back on energy consumption.

Survey results for the past year have shown us that a rising number of people are cycling more often instead of using a car, regularly buying sustainable clothing, and turning to green banking products. But they also indicate that habits differ across the regions of the UK.

62% of respondents to the Q2 survey reported trying to minimise home energy use.

This has increased steadily over the past year from 57% in June 2021. It is the biggest rise among the lifestyle choices covered by the survey, and makes it the second most common habit behind efforts to minimise food waste. 

Other actions that have become more popular over the past year include regularly cycling to places instead of using a car (up from 9% in June 2021 to 13% in Q2 2022) and buying sustainable clothing (12% to 16%).

We are seeing evidence of consumers increasingly making use of green financial products.

At 6%, the number of households with a green mortgage remains low, but it has doubled from 3% in June 2021 and a further 18% are currently considering taking out a green mortgage. Similar improvements in uptake have been seen across green savings, green current accounts and green car loans.

Download the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker - July 2022

You can download a pdf version of the full report, save and share by using the link below.

Survey methodology

The NatWest Greener Homes Attitude Tracker survey was first conducted in May 2021 and is compiled by S&P Global. The survey is intended to accurately anticipate changing consumer behaviour. The questionnaire is designed to be quick and easy to complete, incorporating a small number of key questions, which encourages regular participation among even high-level respondents.

The survey is based on monthly responses from 1,500 individuals in the UK, with data collected by Ipsos MORI from its panel of respondents aged 18-64. The survey sample is structured according to gender, region and age to ensure the survey results accurately reflect the true composition of the population. Results are also weighted to further improve representativeness.

Ipsos MORI technical details (Q2 2022 survey)

Ipsos MORI interviewed 4,500 adults (in total) from its online panel of respondents, with quota controls set by gender, age and region and the resultant survey data weighted to the known UK profile of this audience by gender, age, region and household income. Interviews were conducted online between, 14th – 21st April, 5th – 9th May, and 1st – 8th June 2022. Ipsos MORI was responsible for the fieldwork and data collection only and not  responsible for the analysis, reporting or interpretation of the survey results.

For further information on the survey methodology, please contact economics@ihsmarkit.com.

About S&P Global

S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) S&P Global provides essential intelligence. We enable governments, businesses and individuals with the right data, expertise and connected technology so that they can make decisions with conviction. From helping our customers assess new investments to guiding them through ESG and energy transition across supply chains, we unlock new opportunities, solve challenges and accelerate progress for the world.

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