Energy efficient housing tracker - April 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

Home improvements

22% of UK homeowners plan to make green home improvements in the next 12 months, up from 16% in Q4 2021

Energy efficiency

55% of homeowners said high energy prices would make them more likely to implement energy efficiency measures

EPC rating

36% of homebuyers said a property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating was a very important factor when choosing a home, up from 33% in the prior quarter

Carbon concerns

24% of respondents were 'very concerned' with the carbon emissions produced by UK households

Green home improvements index

The latest data indicated a greater urgency among UK households to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their properties.

  • The proportion of homeowners planning enhancements in the next 12 months rose from 16% in the final quarter of 2021 to 22% in Q1 2022 
  • Looking at plans for the next decade as a whole, 63% of homeowners said they intended to make improvements. This was unchanged from the previous quarter, but up from 54% nine months ago.  

Energy efficient home improvements

The most recent Greener Homes Attitude Tracker provided evidence of homeowners bringing forward their plans for energy saving home improvements to help offset high energy bills however the cost of the work involved was a major barrier to making the sustainability changes.

Improvement planning brought forward

There was a rise in the proportion of homeowners across the UK planning to make energy saving home improvements in the next 12 months, up from 16% in the three months to December 2021 to 22%, alongside a decline in those planning to make upgrades in the next 1-5 years (from 33% to 31%) and in the next 6-10 years (from 19% to 16%).

Increased urgency

While there was no change in the total proportion of homeowners planning to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property over the next decade (63%), the results nonetheless pointed to an increased urgency to take action.

High energy prices and costs influencing decisions to implement energy efficiency measures

More likely to save energy

More than half (55%) of homeowners that took part in the survey said they were more likely to implement energy saving measures in the home as a result of high energy prices.

Less likely due to energy prices

Conversely, around 11% said that high energy prices would reduce the likelihood of them implementing changes.

Cost of improvements

72% of households that currently had no plans to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property stated that the cost of the work involved was a barrier.

Rewards for improvements

57% said that being rewarded with cashback or free gifts would encourage them to upgrade their home's energy efficiency.

While some energy saving features are now widely adopted, such as double-glazed windows and loft insulation, there is still a lot of progress to be made in other areas.

  • Just 6% of owned-occupied homes had an air source heat pump installed, according to the latest data, whilst 8% had an electric car charging point.
  • 40% of homeowners said they plan to install an electric car charging point in the next decade, making it the most likely energy-saving feature to be implemented in the future, followed by solar panels (32%) and triple-glazing (31%).

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ranking

We saw an increase in the importance placed on a property's energy efficiency among prospective homebuyers.

  • Of those looking to purchase in the next 10 years, 36% said that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of a property was a 'very important' factor, up from 33% in the prior quarter.

An electric car charging point, heat pumps and access to public transport were also more desirable among those looking to move, at a time when consumers are coming under pressure from soaring fuel prices.

  • 45% of prospective homebuyers gave some degree of importance to air source heat pumps, up from 41% in Q4 2021.
  • An even greater rise was seen in respect to electric car charging points from 46% to 51%.
  • 37% of households looking to purchase in the next decade said that access to public transport was a very important property feature, up from 32% in the three months to December 2021.

Green lifestyle choices

As well as improving the energy efficiency of our homes, changes in our everyday lives, however small, can also help reduce the impact we have on the environment.

A growing number of consumers are very concerned with the carbon emissions produced by households. Together with the rising cost of living, this is starting to be reflected in changes in households' daily habits, as more report walking or cycling to places and using public transport.   

Levels of concern for UK household carbon emissions

In Q1, 24% of respondents were 'very concerned' with the emissions produced by UK households, up from 21% in the three months to December 2021.

The proportion of consumers saying they regularly walk to places instead of driving a car rose to 46% in the opening quarter of 2022, up from 44% in Q4 2021. There were also small gains in those reporting that they regularly cycle to places and those using public transport.

Note: survey data collected before the rise in the energy prices

Although there was only a slight increase in the proportion of consumers trying to minimise their home energy use, from 59% in the previous quarter to 60%, we note that the survey data was collected before the rise in the energy price cap on 1st April and this is one area worth watching closely in the coming months.

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

We are also seeing steady progress in the uptake of green banking products, which offer another opportunity for consumers to work in tandem with financial service providers to tackle environmental issues. Of the products surveyed, green investments or savings remained the most popular, and there was a rise in the those stating they already have this kind of product from 6% to 9%.

Green mortgages, green home-related loans, and green current accounts also saw slightly higher take up, although in all cases a majority said they did not have the product and were not considering taking it out.

Download the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker - April 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 (Q1 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, 27th – 31st January, 17th – 21st February, and 3rd – 8th March 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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