What are the biggest barriers to green home improvements?

52% of homeowners have plans for green home improvements over the next decade, however costs and finance options are the greatest barriers to carrying these improvements out, according to a survey from NatWest and IHS Markit.

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Rozi Jones
9th September 2021
green house energy eco home climate
"More needs to be done in raising awareness of what improving energy efficiency means for individual customers as there’s no ‘one size fits all’."

According to the survey, more than a quarter of homeowners (26%) anticipate making changes within the next one to five years, with a further 16% planning on carrying out improvements in 6 to 10 years’ time.

However, the research indicated that more needs to be done to catalyse immediate change. When asked, a significant proportion of UK homeowners responded that they do not have any plans to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their home in the next 12 months (with only 15% planning to do so) and 29% had no plans in the next decade, highlighting that for most homeowners, sustainability is either a relatively low priority or unaffordable.

As the UK works towards net zero emissions by 2050, less than half of homeowners asked feel confident they can afford to replace their gas boiler with a more sustainable alternative.

Many homeowners indicated that the date of the potential ban, 2035, was too far in the future to need to take action now or even start planning to, and they would reassess the situation closer to the time. The survey also found that many expected a change in circumstances in the intervening period, like moving to a different property. Other common reasons for a lack of action included waiting for financial support from the government, scepticism towards the potential plans, and the recent installation of a new gas boiler.

Lloyd Cochrane, head of mortgages at NatWest, said: “Residential properties generate around 15% of UK total climate emissions. Our research shows that more needs to be done in raising awareness of what improving energy efficiency means for individual customers as there’s no ‘one size fits all’. We launched the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker to run on a quarterly basis as a way of monitoring changes in consumer attitudes over time and to enable us to build the products, services and processes needed to play our part in tackling climate change and provide useful insight for all those involved in supporting the transition.

“As the principal banking sponsor supporting COP26 in Glasgow later this year, we want to support customers in making greener choices. This ranges from improving their carbon footprint through our partnership with CoGo, discounts through our green mortgage range and work to ensure customers can understand what they can do to improve the energy efficiency of their home.”

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