10 Feb 2022

Energy Squeeze Boosts Appetite For Greener Homes With £45 Extra Per Month The Tipping Point

  • Point at which households will consider acting drops by more than £10 in less than a year, poll shows
  • 69% plan to make their homes more energy efficient, while 45% have begun making some changes
  • Around eight in ten more inclined to improve their home’s energy efficiency than six months ago
  • But while people plan to make green home improvements, confusion over the process remains
  • Society says “time to act” on greening our homes is now – but support is desperately needed

UK households are increasingly likely to go greener sooner as energy price rises push them to consider taking action to drive down costs, with around seven in ten planning to make improvements.

The findings come from new research[1] conducted by Nationwide as part of its ongoing efforts to help homeowners make their properties more energy efficient. Britain’s biggest building society is pushing for an accelerated national retrofitting programme as part of the Green Homes Action Group.

While 69 per cent of households are intending to make their homes greener, and 45 per cent have already made some improvements, 42 per cent want to enhance their home but either haven’t started the process or simply don’t know where to begin.

The constriction of household finances is apparent, with people saying that they would consider making their homes greener if their energy costs were to increase by an average of £45 per month. Last July, this figure stood at £56, the same as the expected average impact on households following the energy cap rise, amounting to £672 a year.

The findings also highlight how quickly perceptions around green improvements, particularly when prices are rising, have changed when compared to last year. Some 80 per cent of respondents were now more inclined to make green home improvements than they were six months ago. Additionally, 71 per cent say their carbon footprint is important to them - higher than when Nationwide conducted similar research in July (60%).

Despite this, there is widespread confusion around where to start in making a home greener and significant uncertainty regarding costs. While more than two thirds (68%) say some form of a grant would help cover costs, more than half (54%) said a one-stop shop providing impartial advice, or ‘green skills’ register for trusted, skilled tradespeople, would encourage them to take action by helping them understand what improvements their home needed.

Claire Tracey, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer at Nationwide, said: “Ensuring our homes are better insulated and powered by cleaner energy is one of the best ways to protect against rising fuel prices. Our research tells us people want to make green home improvements to lower their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. But they need support. This can only be achieved through a national retrofitting programme, which has the full commitment of government and business and, most importantly, is fairly financed. As consumers brace themselves for higher energy prices, the time to act to make our homes more energy efficient is now. We stand ready to support and to work with others, in the spirit of mutuality, to help ensure that no household is left behind.”

The research follows the challenge laid down by the Nationwide-convened Green Homes Action Group, following the energy cap rise, to government to deliver a long-term solution to better protect households against volatile energy prices. The Group, which is made up of businesses and charities with a shared interest in making the UK’s homes more sustainable, stated that greater focus is needed on a national retrofitting strategy to make our homes more energy efficient.

Nationwide is currently running a solar panel pilot across Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and East Sussex in recent months aimed at taking away the confusion and providing a straightforward process to help people green their homes. The first installations have been taking place in recent weeks and the Society is currently reviewing how it could further help members green their homes, perhaps by offering more solutions and services, in addition to solar panels.

The Society also has a £1 billion loan fund available for all existing mortgage members to help kickstart green home improvements and retrofitting. This forms part of its ambition for at least half of the Society’s housing stock to be EPC C rated or above by 2030. At least half of the loan must be used to fund a range of sustainable home improvements, including the addition of solar panels, air source heat pumps and electric car charging points.


Notes to editors

[1] Total sample size was 2,000 UK homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st January – 3rd February 2022.  The survey was carried out online by Censuswide. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.


The Green Homes Action Group

The Green Homes Action Group is a cross-sector group of experts with a shared interest in promoting retrofit – whether that’s exploring private sector innovation, or potential policy change. We believe that delivering retrofit at scale has the potential to make the nation’s homes warmer, reduce emissions, and create jobs. We believe in working collaboratively to promote these aims.

The Group includes Nationwide Building Society, Ashden, B&Q, Trustmark, Igloo, Energiesprong, Energy Saving Trust, Federation of Master Builders, ROCKWOOL, Shelter, E.On, Metropolitan Thames Valley, National Energy Foundation, Dr Tadj Oreszczyn, of the Bartlett School and Energy Institute, UCL.