Energy efficient housing tracker

Consumer attitudes towards greener homes

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

Our key findings for greener homes

EPC rating

Energy Performance Certificate rating (EPC) of a property remains a relatively low priority among prospective UK homebuyers, ranked below air quality, green space and noise pollution, with only 30% finding it ‘very important’.

Home Improvements

55% of homeowners have plans to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property over the next decade. 16% of respondents expect to make these changes in the next 12 months (up from 14% last quarter).

Improvement Planning

Plans to make sustainable home improvements tend to fall with age with just 44% of respondents aged 55 to 64 planning improvements in the next 10 years.

Geographical split

Homeowners in the North of England (57%) are the most likely to have plans to make property sustainability changes in the next decade compared to 51% in Scotland.

An insight into the future of greener homes

Tackling climate change is central to our purpose here at NatWest, to support our customers and more broadly play our part in helping the UK to transition to a net zero carbon economy. And with buildings generating around 15% of UK carbon emissions, there is a pressing need to act to create a fair and sustainable transition so that we can cut emissions from our homes and places of work.

The Greener Homes Attitude Tracker is designed to give us a better understanding of consumer attitudes in this area. This will ensure we can support our customers in the best way possible and provide regular insight about how consumers are feeling to all involved in this transition. The recent rises in wholesale gas prices are another illustration of the challenges that consumers face as they try to understand what they can do to play their part and how much that might cost, as well as how they can protect themselves from rising energy bills.

Working to achieve net zero

The Heat and Buildings Strategy, expected to be published later this year, will lay out a number of policies to decarbonise the built environment. This will affect homeowners across the UK. As one of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders, we have a significant responsibility to help make net zero happen by encouraging and helping our home-owning customers to make greener choices now.

With COP26 taking place in November, we're proud to be a Principal Partner and the only banking partner. It has been long anticipated and will be a crucial step in global efforts to tackle climate change and a chance for countries to agree coordinated action, highlight issues, and share knowledge.

NatWest recently launched a ‘Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition’ in partnership with British Gas, Worcester Bosch, and Shelter.  We are working together to contribute to the greening of UK homes and buildings. We agree that raising consumer awareness of this issue and helping customers understand the choices they have to decarbonise their homes and commercial buildings, is an essential initial step in meeting this huge, complex and long term challenge.  We’re determined to play our part in making the changes happen and to support our customers with the necessary transition to greener homes.

To help with this, we have several products and services to support customers to make greener choices, for example:

Homebuyer preferences

Results from our latest Greener Homes Attitude Tracker for the third quarter of 2021 revealed that the Energy Performance Certificate rating (EPC) of a property remained a relatively low priority among prospective homebuyers.

  • Only 30% of consumers who are looking to purchase a home in the next 10 years considered the overall energy efficiency of a property, or its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, a ‘very important’ factor.
  • The EPC rating ranked below other environmental factors, such as air quality (37% said ‘very important’), amount of local green space (38%) and levels of noise pollution (41%). 
  • Considering all factors, prospective buyers put the cost of a property before anything else, with more than two-thirds considering it 'very important'.

Focusing on the energy saving features of a property, double glazed windows came out on top with 35% of homebuyers considering it 'essential'. Loft insulation ranked second with 24% stating it as 'essential'.

  • Approximately 15% of households said that having an EPC rating of C or above was 'essential' when selecting a property. 
  • 18% of those aged 35 to 44 consider an EPC rating of C or above 'essential'.
  • Only 7% of households stated that solar panels and electric car charging points were 'essential' features.

Energy efficient home improvements

More than half of UK homeowners, once again, are planning to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property in the next decade. Whilst this proportion (55%) is little changed since the previous quarter (54%), the percentage of respondents expecting to make these changes in the next 12 months has risen to 16% (compared to 14% previously).

  • Over a quarter (26%) of homeowners anticipate making green property enhancements within one to five years.
  • Over 60% of homeowners aged between 18 and 35 have plans for improvements over the next 10 years, compared to just 44% for the 55-64 age group.
  • By region, homeowners in the North of England (57%) are the most likely to have plans to make property sustainability changes in the next decade compared to just 51% in Scotland.

Relatively low numbers of homeowners have plans to install either a hybrid heating system (21%), an air source heat pump (18%) or ground source heat pump (17%). This is despite potential plans by the UK Government to ban the installation of gas boilers in homes by 2035.

  • Around half (48%) of homeowners said they were aware of a potential ban. 
  • 14% were very confident of being able to replace their gas boiler with a more sustainable alternative. 
  • 57% were either 'not very' or 'not at all confident'. 

Green lifestyle choices

Respondents often made active changes to their daily life in the interest of reducing their carbon footprint and becoming more environmentally friendly.

  • Efforts to minimise food waste led the way with almost three-quarters of respondents (72%) taking action. 
  • Over half (59%) of respondents reported attempts to limit home energy use. With nearly three-quarters (73%) of those aged 55 to 64 indicating that they tried to minimise their home energy use
  • The youngest survey group were more likely to use public transport and limit their dairy intake to help the environment than the oldest, and more than twice as likely to regularly buy sustainable clothing

The use of hybrid/electric cars remains low, at only 6%.

A large proportion of respondents were still conscious of the environmental impact of their means of transport and were taking steps to minimise it.

  • 44% regularly walked to places rather than using a car.
  • 25% sought to minimise air travel.
  • 23% used public transport to limit their effects on the environment. 

Generally, younger households showed a greater desire to adopt more modern forms of green technologies than their older counterparts.

By age group, 44% of homeowners aged 18 to 34 signalled their intention to install an electric car charging point in the next 10 years, versus only around one-quarter of 55 to 64-year-olds. 

We asked respondents how likely they are to take out green banking products.

  • Of the seven products listed, green investments or savings was the most popular option with 6% already having the product.
  • Among those looking to buy a property in the next 10 years, 26% said they were considering taking out a green mortgage. This rose to 33% among 18 to 24-year-olds.

Download the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker - Oct 2021

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 IHS Markit. 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 2021 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, July 8th-10th, August 19th-23rd and September 2nd-5th 2021. 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 IHS Markit

IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions.

IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2021 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.

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