Almost nine in ten (89%) of Brits regard energy efficiency and energy savings as the most important factor when carrying out home improvements, according to new research by Schneider Electric.
With the average Brit spending £1,458 on home improvements in the next three years, homeowners are now expected to focus investment on becoming more eco-friendly. The survey of 2,000 UK consumers conducted in October this year, highlighted the shifting mindset of homeowners post-COVID 19.
While energy efficiency and usage (89%) topped the list of common priorities, it was followed closely by the more traditional factors, namely comfort (87%) and design (75%). Investing in sustainability, such as installing solar panels, came soon after, being a priority to just over-two thirds (65%).
At the other end of the list, features such as investing in increasing the size of a home or new entertainment systems were regarded as less important (49% and 41% respectively), showing that while budgets are tight, large scale home improvements are no longer a priority in the UK.
Striving towards a net zero home
According to the Climate Change Commission (CCC), the UK will not meet its zero carbon goals without almost entirely eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from Britain’s 29 million homes. Additionally, by 2050, electricity use in homes is set to more than double, outstripping industry, as well as commercial and transport use combined. The research highlights the increased awareness of climate change and the growing phenomenon of energy efficient home improvements.
In fact, over half (55%) of Brits say that it is now important to them for their home to reach net zero emissions in their lifetime. The majority of adults say that it is important to them personally to reach net zero emissions in their home, rising as high as 60% for those aged 35 to 54. Net zero homes are vital in solving the climate change challenges and, homeowners need to adopt sustainable features to address this. By generating as much clean, renewable electricity as they consume, homeowners will be able to tackle this problem.
“Despite most consumers owning a piece of smart technology, it isn’t revolutionising the way we live and how we save energy, potentially even adding to our environmental footprint. Consumers will struggle to enact change if their homes don’t become more connected,” said Nico van de Merwe, VP of Home and Distribution at Schneider Electric. “By creating connected energy efficiency solutions acting like a ‘Fitbit for your home’ we will enable unprecedented visibility over energy habits at home that consumers will easily understand and adjust their energy usage to meet specific goals, mapping their progress towards net zero homes in achievable steps. As our homes become truly intelligent, a firm foundation for net zero homes will emerge.”
However, despite a majority factoring net zero as important, only 29% agree that this is likely to happen within their lifetime, falling as low as 13% of those aged 55 and over. Many individuals (59%) believe that it is the government’s responsibility to address this, introducing clearer policies to drive genuine change. Governments and technology companies need to provide easy solutions to consumers to ensure change becomes a reality. Schneider Electric is leading the charge in doing just that.
Nico van de Merwe, VP of Home and Distribution at Schneider Electric, continued: “There is now an evident increase in the number of people wanting to make energy efficient and eco-friendly improvements to their homes, with comfort, size and design no longer topping the list. There are a multitude of features, ranging from installing smart energy monitors, electric charging stations, smart solar panels or smart thermostats, which can be easily implemented to make this happen. Individuals must continue to adopt new sustainable features to make their home energy efficient and tackle climate change, with specific help from government initiatives such as The Green Homes grant to help along the way.”
This study was developed by Schneider Electric and conducted in October 2020 by an independent research firm, Opinium, surveying 2,000 consumers in the UK.