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Earth Day: Almost 1-in-2 Brits want to make their homes more energy efficient, study finds

Earth Day is a worldwide event occurring on 22 April and is intended to celebrate the environmental diversity of the world, whilst highlighting ways of protecting the planet. A recent study by the ONS found that 76% of Brits are concerned about climate change, with much of society trying to contribute in a positive way through actions such as recycling or reducing their carbon footprint.

However, a lack of energy efficient homes is also a key issue that the UK is facing in terms of becoming more environmentally friendly. Residential properties are responsible for a fifth of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, prompting the government to pledge that by 2035 every home should have an EPC rating of C or above as part of its long-term plan to tackle climate change.

A landmark study from Cornerstone Tax has revealed a real appetite amongst UK homeowners to back this plan, with 36% reporting that making their home more energy efficient is a priority for them in 2022. The study also found that almost 1-in-6 Brits (12%) are even planning to move house in order to live a greener life, showing it to be an issue that is of real concern for current homeowners across the UK. However, 45% of respondents stated that they found it too expensive to make their homes more energy efficient without government support.

Although the government currently offers a 0% VAT incentive on energy-saving renovations over the next five years, James Morley, Business Development Director at Cornerstone Tax, explains: “The initial costs of making green renovations to your home are still too high for many homeowners across the UK. It’s clear to me that the government will need to go further in incentivising these type of developments if they wish to see more people carrying them out.”

Those undeterred by the initial cost have a number of options when considering energy efficient renovations, including loft insulation, solid wall insulation, ground source heat pumps and double-glazing. By making such improvements, Brits can expect to save an estimated £890 every year in reduced energy costs, which over time may balance out the price of implementation. However, it is not just cost that remains a barrier – for those with listed properties, planning permission has become a major deterrent. Cornerstone’s study also uncovered that 22% of homeowners have looked into making their home more energy efficient but found it impossible because of planning restrictions.

James Morley comments on homeowners making energy efficient renovations:

“If you want the benefits of an eco-friendly home, without the extra expense or the hassle, then the solution would be to buy a new-build property. However, I do understand that many homeowners may feel very attached to their current properties and want to stay there.”

“Though many obstacles remain for Brits trying to make their homes more environmentally friendly, it’s encouraging to see a real appetite amongst homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient. For those carrying out these renovations it’s not only having a positive effect on the environment, but also reducing their energy bills in the long run. The government just needs to go a step further to ensure that these home adjustments are a viable option for everyone, and not just those who can afford it.”