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Rising bills mean Brits can’t afford to make homes energy efficient

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

A quarter of Brits said they could not afford to make energy efficiency changes to their homes amid the rising cost of living.

Three in four Britons said they would like to make their home more energy efficient, but 23% said they simply can’t afford the cost, according to the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) research.

Government net zero targets have inspired homeowners to want to retrofit their homes, but the current cost of living issue has made it difficult for people to look at areas outside of their essential bills.

Over a third (37%) said they had been forced to prioritise household bills over making home improvements and 35% of those surveyed said their energy bills increased too much, leaving them with little money at the end of the month to put towards home improvements.

A third said they simply did not earn enough to make their home more energy efficient.

Other reasons for not being able to make green improvements included not being able to afford to save for them (31%), home improvements being too expensive (28%), and the tax increase leaving 14% less well off to pay for them.

Childcare was blamed by one in 20. Parents and carers said childcare costs prevented them from being able to make any energy efficiency changes.

For 16%, they were unable to make changes because they lived in rented accommodation.

But some Brits seem determined to carry out projects to make their homes more environmentally-friendly, as 18% said they intended to make changes. One in 10 (12%) plan to do so, but not in the next 12 months.

The research also found that one in six homeowners wanted to make home improvements to their property to improve its EPC rating. By doing so, it would help people understand and plan for energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, lighting, heating, and hot water on an annual basis by tracking usage and costs.

‘Delay improvements to prioritise finances’

Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The government’s ambitious plans to reach net zero targets is having an effect on households, with an impressive number of people having the intentions to make their homes more energy efficient. But despite this desire, consumers are being hit from all sides with the cost-of-living crisis, including soaring inflation and rising household bills.

“This means households are having to delay their desired energy efficient home improvement goals to prioritise their finances. More needs to be done to help consumers, such as working with lenders to help people make sensible and informed choices which will ultimately support the government in reaching their targets, while also helping the environment and potentially reducing household energy costs.”