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Energy efficiency and sustainability more important to homeowners but cost concerns remain

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek
Posted:
Updated:
17/08/2023

Homeowners are increasingly prioritising the sustainability of their properties when looking to buy, but the costs attached to upgrading their homes are still a barrier, a study from a high street bank has found.

The Natwest Greener Homes Attitude Tracker in conjunction with S&P Global found that 40% of prospective homebuyers felt the energy performance certificate (EPC) of their future home was a ‘very important’ consideration. 

This was up marginally from the 39% who said the same in the first quarter of this year. 

Two thirds of current homeowners plan to retrofit their homes to make them greener over the next decade, which is up from 63% previously. 

As for making changes sooner, 22% of homeowners said they were planning works in the next 12 months, up from 21% in Q1. 

Costly works 

A fifth of homeowners said they were not planning to make any improvements at all in the next 10 years at all, while 14% said they did not know whether they would. Among the people who were unsure or unwilling about making their homes more sustainable, 32% cited the disruption that works would cause as the main deterrent.  

Some 29% cited financing options. 

With energy efficiency assessor Quidos estimating that the cost to install a heat pump, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, double-glazed windows and solar panels amounting to £34,500, respondents gave an average timeframe of 15 years when asked how long it would take to recoup the money spent through savings on energy bills. 

Lloyd Cochrane, head of mortgages at Natwest, said: “We know that cost remains a high barrier to homeowners when making these changes and that’s clearly unsurprising given the significant increase in cost of living. It’s important to note that we took the average of £34,000 from a range of installations, however this varies widely depending on what a homeowner plans to install. However, we know there needs to be a change in making the options more accessible to our customers and wider homeowners across the UK.  

“That’s why we’re leading industry wide work including our retrofit project – it informs our understanding of what we can do to help and future products that might assist homeowners in the process.”