Majority of UK homeowners struggling to make their homes more energy efficient

New research has revealed that millions of UK homeowners have experienced obstacles that have prevented them from carrying out energy efficiencies.

Related topics:  Property,  Homeowners,  Energy Efficiency
Property | Reporter
5th February 2024
Energy Efficiency 123
"Not only can most households not afford to invest in energy efficiency but they’re also worried they won’t make a return on their investment. And they are right"
- Paula Higgins - HomeOwners Alliance

According to the latest research by HomeOwners Alliance, obstacles such as cost, lack of incentives, and even trust are holding back UK homeowners from making their homes more energy efficient.

The majority of homeowners (57%) have reported the following barriers to carrying out energy efficiency improvements, according to the latest research by HomeOwners Alliance.

36% of homeowners have not undertaken work because of the cost of improvements, 19% say the lack of grants/ incentives is a barrier and a similar proportion are not convinced the up-front cost will pay for itself in energy savings (18%).

Some homeowners say a lack of trusted tradespeople (11%), a lack of skilled trades (8%) and previous insulation scandals (6%) have also stopped them from carrying out energy efficiencies.

While most homeowners (81%) have undertaken some energy efficiency measures in the home they are usually the simpler and less expensive ones. The main ones being energy efficient lighting (53%) and loft/ roof insulation (51%). Less common are installing heating controls (27%), draught-proofing (26%), installing solar panels (9%) or switching to a heat pump (4%).

Younger homeowners (age 18-34) are more likely to undertake more substantial improvements such as installing solar panels or heat pumps. The proportion of homeowners age 18-34 versus homeowners overall to have installed solar panels is (13% vs 9%) and heat pumps is (11% vs 4%).

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive, Homeowners Alliance, says: “Our survey shows that homeowners think energy efficiency measures are too expensive and that there is not enough help. Not only can most households not afford to invest in energy efficiency but they’re also worried they won’t make a return on their investment. And they are right.

"More environmentally friendly air source heat pumps cost in the region of a staggering £14k to install. Last year, the Prime Minister increased the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to £7.5k so homeowners could replace their gas boiler with a heat pump for around £6.5k. But it’s still a huge financial outlay when you compare that to the cost of a new gas boiler from just £2k.

"If the government is serious about meeting its 2050 net-zero target by banning the sale of new gas boilers by 2035, more long-term incentives such as tax breaks and government grants will be required as many are already struggling with higher mortgage costs and the wider cost of living crisis."

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders adds: “The HomeOwners Alliance’s research highlights the cost of energy efficiency improvements as a major barrier but so too is finding a reputable tradesperson.

"Given an additional 225,000 construction workers will be needed over the next four years the Government should be thinking about who’s going to carry out the work and more importantly to what standard. The retrofitting of 29 million homes is a golden opportunity to license building companies to give homeowners the confidence they need to retrofit their homes.”

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