Trigger points...

While it’s fairly self-evident that giving full green makeovers to our homes would be the quickest way to hitting the UK’s carbon-cutting targets, the reality is equally obvious – it’s not a practical option for most people. 

Our research tells us that more than 60 per cent of UK householders cite hassle and lack of knowledge as the main reasons they don’t implement energy saving measures in the home. 

But there’s good news. Our new report Trigger points: a convenient truth shows that the idea of taking on energy efficiency measures as an ‘add-on’ to existing home improvement projects does appeal to people. There’s little wonder, when it also appeals to the thrifty – taking on energy efficiency when the builders are already in makes a good deal of financial sense.

Nearly nine in ten householders are willing to stretch their home improvement budgets to save energy, while around four million UK households are planning or anticipating a major refurbishment project within the next three years. Big opportunities abound. 

But if you want your trigger point to really, well, trigger something, the importance spelling out the numerous benefits of energy efficiency is absolutely paramount. We know that there are a lot of people motivated by their ethical/ ‘green’ beliefs, but many more than that are motivated by the thought of a more comfortable home that’s cheaper to run. 

We think you’ve got to get to the heart of human motivations to make a greener UK happen, so this is some very necessary pragmatism. 

Best of all, it’s not pragmatism at the expense of results. Our research also shows that an 80 percent carbon cut can be achieved by making energy efficiency changes at key stages in the life of a home – those replacements, upgrades and mini-refits all householders are familiar with. 

As well as collecting the big stats around trigger points, we also sought to find out who exactly are the most receptive groups of householders to the idea of gradually greening their home, and the key lifestyle factors in whether they will turn thought into action.

We found that families with young children had bigger budgets (£6,755 for a typical refurbishment project versus an average of £5,430), and there’s a large proportion (20 per cent) of the home improvement market taken up by households with teenage children.

Because families with young and teenage children were generally undertaking larger projects, the absolute amount they were prepared to spend on energy-saving was also higher: an average of £680, compared to between £400 and £450 for young couples and singles. 

Of course, there’s more than just the householder to consider where green refurbishment is concerned, so we also collared landlords and builders to find out their thoughts on trigger points. 

You can read our convenient truth in full here