Energy efficient housing tracker - October 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

Planning improvements

68% of homeowners are planning to improve the environmental sustainability of their property in the next 10 years.

EPC rating

40% of prospective homebuyers said that a property's EPC rating was a 'very important' factor, up from 30% in Q3 2021.

Cost of living increase

Household finances under increasing pressure. Cost is the biggest barrier to making green home improvements.

Reducing energy usage

44% of households are reducing energy bills by switching off appliances.

Green home improvements index

The latest Green Home Improvements Index shows that there's a notable increase in the number of homeowners planning to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property over the next decade compared to the previous quarter.

Those planning changes in the next 12 months rose only slightly from 23% in Q2 to 24% in Q3, although this is up from 16% a year ago. When considering the next the decade, however, the increase was notable, rising from 63% to 68%. This is up from just 55% a year ago. 

Energy performance certificate (EPC) ranking

Over the past 12 months, the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of a property has become much more important to prospective homebuyers. However, in terms of overall priorities, it still ranks well behind the likes of property cost and location (stated 'very important' by 67% and 61% respectively).

40% say that the property's EPC rating is 'very important'

According to the latest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ranking, 40% of consumers looking to buy a property in the next decade considered a property's EPC rating a 'very important' factor, little-changed from 39% in Q2 but up notably from 30% a year earlier.

Energy efficient home improvements

Rising energy prices and a general increase in the cost of living have provided an added incentive to implement energy efficiency measures around the home, with a growing number of homeowners planning to do so over the next 12 months and beyond. 

But with household finances under increasing pressure, many continue to see cost as a barrier to greening their property and more support will be needed to speed up the transition with energy bills potentially set to rise again for some from October.

The greatest changes from the previous survey were around medium-term plans.

  • The proportion of homeowners planning to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property over the next 1 to 5 years rose notably from 30% in Q2 to 34% in Q3.
  • There was also an increase in regard to the next 6 to 10 years, from 19% to 21%. But evidently more needs to be done to support households in the here and now.

What energy saving features are homeowners planning to install in the next 12 months?

  • 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 12 months.
  • 14% of homeowners said they plan to install a smart energy meter over the coming 12 months, which was the highest among the 18 features surveyed. That said, 18% stated they did not plan to install one in the next 10 years.
  • The survey also showed an increasing number of people turning to energy efficient lighting as a way to reduce electricity consumption, with 11% of homeowners planning to install this feature in the coming year. This was up from 7% a year ago.

What energy saving features are homeowners planning to install in the next 10 years?

  • An electric car charging point topped the list of features most likely to be installed over the next decade. 10% of homeowners said they planned to install one in the coming 12 months, with a further 17% intending to do so in the next 1 to 5 years, and 15% in the next 6 to 10 years. It was followed by solar panels and triple-glazed windows (39% and 34% planned to install in these in the coming decade respectively).

Why are some homeowners not planning to make improvements to the energy efficiency of their homes?

  • Still, around one-in-five homeowners (18%) said they were not planning to make any improvements to the environment sustainability of their property within the next 10 years, with a further 14% answering ‘don’t know'. Among this group, over 70% said that cost was a barrier. 
  • The level of disruption the work would cause was also dissuading many from implementing energy saving measures (30%), as was a lack of finance options (26%).
  • The survey also revealed some doubts about the extent to which the environmental sustainability of the property could be improved (24% cited this as a barrier).

Some homeowners are now less likely to make energy saving home improvements

  • 23% of homeowners surveyed said they were now less likely, up from 17% in Q2, hinting at growing issues for some homeowners around the affordability of green home improvements amid a sharp squeeze on discretionary spending.

Homebuyer Preferences

Whilst a property's cost and location remain the highest priorities among prospective homebuyers, its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating has grown in importance considerably in the past year, as has its age and having access to public transport.

Homebuyers also increasingly view a number of green property features, including smart energy meters, water meters and rainwater harvesting systems, as being essential.

Very important factors

A property's age (29% stated 'very important' from 18% in Q3 2021) and having access to public transport (39% from 29%) have also become a lot more important in the past 12 months. But, these factors continue to rank among the lowest of those surveyed based on the percentages of homebuyers stating 'very important'.

The higher ranking factors that are 'very important' to homebuyers are:

  • cost (67%)
  • location (61%) property features (58%)
  • risk of flooding (53%)
  • internet speed (48%)
  • levels of noise pollution (43%).

Green lifestyle choices

With energy prices and the cost of living generally having risen sharply over the past year, in this section of the report we look at the various ways households are trying to reduce energy bills.

44% of households are reducing energy bill by switching off appliances.

The most common action taken among those surveyed was switching off devices that are usually left switched on or on standby, cited by 44% of households.

Furthermore, this rose to 53% among those that said their monthly energy bills had 'increased a lot' over the past 12 months. Other popular actions included using appliances less often (cited by 43% of all respondents), avoiding overfilling the kettle (41%) and reducing the use of lighting (40%).

When it came to green lifestyle choices more generally, minimising home energy use (61%) was second only to minimising food waste (67%) among the actions surveyed.

Continued increase in consumers choosing green financial products.

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%).

Download the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker - October 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 (Q3 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, 15th – 19th July, 11th – 16th August, and 1st – 5th September 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

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