3 million householdsare making green home improvements

An estimated 3 million households are making green home improvements this winter equating to an estimated £8bn in spending, according to new research by AA Financial Services.

Asking a nationally representative poll of over 2,000 homeowners, the results showed that 11% were planning to make green improvements to their homes – ranking higher than the proportion of people making improvements to their gardens (11%), installing a new bathroom (9%), or a new kitchen (9%). 

This comes at a time when the Prime Minister has announced an extension of the Green Homes Grant, meaning homeowners across England will have until the end of March 2022 to have energy efficiency upgrades to their homes completed through the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme. 
Looking at the types of home improvements these ‘green’ households were planning to make, 27% were installing insulation, 18% installing solar panels, while 9% were putting in a car charger. A further 45% were making other green home improvements. 

Asking people about how much they were planning to spend on making their homes greener, the average was £2,660. However, this differed considerably by different age group and region. 

The research found that households in the East Midlands (17%) and London (17%) were the areas most likely to be making their homes more environmentally friendly this winter, spending on average £4,300 and £2,430 on these home improvements respectively.
People aged under 35 were the most likely to be making green home improvements (20%) – twice as likely as those aged 35-54 (9%), and three times as likely as those over 55 (6%). However, these older age groups were planning to spend considerably more than those under 35: £3,890 over 35s compared with £2,420 under 35. 

Interestingly, it was people living in regions with the toughest COVID restrictions this year (Tiers 3 and 2 in England) – and therefore people who had spent slightly more time at home this year – that were more likely to have green home improvement plans. A quarter (26%) of people living in Tier 3 regions, and 27% of in Tier 2, were planning to make green home improvements, compared with 16% of people living in Tier 1 regions. Similarly, the average amount these people were planning to spend was slightly more (£4,660 in Tier 3 and £3,330 in Tier 2, compared with £2,330 in Tier 1).

Asking people about the ways people intended to finance these home improvements, close to a third of people nationwide (30%) said they planned to borrow money this year. Of people who were planning to borrow money, just under half planned to put it on a credit card (47%), and a fifth planned to take out store credit with the retailer (20%). A substantial proportion arranged loans with lenders: a fifth (20%) planned to take out a personal loan, while one in six (17%) planned to add it to their mortgage.

James Fairclough, Director of AA Financial Services commented: “A growing number of people appear to be considering green improvements, as many realise the cost saving benefits over the long term, as well as the benefits to the environment. Making energy efficiency improvements future-proofs a home, cuts domestic bills and it implies that people are serious about taking control of their energy usage.

“Lockdown this year has accelerated these changes, as – being at home far more – many may have noticed their rising energy bills, and had time to fix them. Throughout this year’s lockdowns and restrictions, our research has shown bringing forward home improvement plans has been, for many, a positive way to use time at home, to improve wellbeing and add to the value of a home. 

“For people looking to build up their savings pots to fund home improvements, or for those looking for a personal loan, AA Financial Services is here to help. For more information, visit our website.”

Home improvements planned for next 3-6 months

%Average spend
Decorating26%£1,160
Green Home Improvements (Net)11%£2,660
Landscaping6%£2,340
New bathroom5%£4,110
New windows / door5%£3,710
New kitchen5%£6,460
Upgrading tech5%£2,700
New garden room / shed5%£2,900
Plumbing4%£2,560
Home Office / study room4%£2,590
Rewiring2%£4,540
Extension2%£9,400
Building conservatory2%£8,310
Conversion2%£6,090
New roof2%£7,650
I do not have any home improvement plans for the next 3-6 months47% 

Green improvement plans by type

  Insulation27%
  Solar panels18%
  Car charger9%
 Other ways of making the home more environmentally friendly45%

Top 10 home improvements planned for next three months – comparison those previously already in lockdown vs rest of the UK

 Tier 3 – Very high Tier 2 – High Tier 1 – Medium 
Decorating44%£1,16041%£1,38058%£1,060
Green home improvements (e.g. solar panels, insulation, car charger)26%£4,66027%£3,33016%£2,330
Upgrading tech13%£2,70011%£2,9806%£1,320
New kitchen11%£6,46011%£8,0408%£5,950
New garden room / shed11%£2,9005%£2,54010%£2,410
Landscaping/gardening10%£2,3407%£2,22014%£2,170
New bathroom10%£4,1109%£4,19010%£3,980
New windows / door10%£3,71013%£4,3508%£3,130
Home Office / study room8%£2,5907%£2,0406%£2,660
Plumbing6%£3,1807%£2,54010%£2,410

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