As homeowners say it’s too expensive to go green, how businesses can help them


According to the building society Nationwide, Britain’s housing is directly responsible for 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions, as The Times reports. However, in a recent survey, 28% of homeowners said they did not intend to make any green improvements to their homes in the next decade. 

In that July survey, where 3,000 UK homeowners were polled by NatWest banking group and IHS Markit, two thirds of respondents said the expense of eco-upgrades was the biggest stumbling block. So, how could UK businesses do their bit to help lower the high financial entry price?

How can homeowners check where they could make green upgrades?

Since 2007, all home sellers have been required to provide buyers with an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). Hence, it’s not hard for households to investigate how they could enact carbon-cutting improvements in their properties. 

Nonetheless, many households could understandably baulk at the costs attached to many of the options on offer. This is highlights one situation faced by 32-year-old Chris Simons and his partner Oliver when their EPC recommended insulating their home’s solid floors.

Though this measure pledged a yearly saving of £84 due to reduced heating bills, the cost of installing this flooring insulation would have been in the region of £4,000 to £6,000, the EPC estimated. Simons thus dismissed the idea as “just totally unworkable”.

What green improvements are capable of paying off?

“I’d love to be more eco-friendly, but the economics have to stack up,” Simons said. Unfortunately, many green measures are marketed as cost-cutting even when this is actually far from the case. Nonetheless, certain eco-friendly moves can more than pay for themselves over time.

One good example is buying a hot water cylinder jacket – which, though priced at £35, would save the household £85 yearly. Similarly, while installing loft insulation would cost £270 on average, it would also bring a financial return in less than two years. 

The addition of this insulation would not have to be at the expense of the loft’s practicality, either. Raised loft boarding, like that installed as part of the award-winning loft boarding service from Instaloft, can hide insulation under the loft’s flooring without hurting that insulation’s effectiveness.

How businesses could capitalise on consumer interest in green products

One piece of good news for businesses offering these products is that consumers are evidently interested in them. Last year, online searches for terms like “how much are heat pumps” and “where to buy insulation” grew, despite this trend not translating into higher sales.

According to one calculation made by the energy supplier Bulb and reported by, at least four million homes could have been insulated – with CO2 emissions consequently being cut by two million tonnes – if customers hadn’t been deterred by the high prices of green home products.

Therefore, the onus is on businesses to educate customers on what green moves they can practically afford to make. For example, while cavity wall insulation is only viable for some properties, it can generate a financial return in less than four years.


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BDC 318 : Jul 2024