Positive affirmation by government of commitment to reduce energy consumption of buildings not yet matched by consumer action

As COP 27 comes to an end, The Building Societies Association welcomes the Chancellor’s positive reaffirmation in the Autumn Statement of the government’s commitment to improving the energy efficiency of buildings and the reduction of energy consumption.

As COP 27 comes to an end, The Building Societies Association welcomes the Chancellor’s positive reaffirmation in the Autumn Statement of the government’s commitment to improving the energy efficiency of buildings and the reduction of energy consumption.     

Despite the huge impact soaring energy prices are having on households, and some encouraging signs of improving consumer awareness, new research shows that almost half (45%) of homeowners have not considered making any energy efficiency improvements to their home over the past 12 months. This figure is however a substantial improvement on September 2021, when it stood at 59%.

The survey highlighted a big difference in some of the more costly areas between the improvements people have considered making to their property, and the changes actually made. For example:

  • 17% have considered the installation of solar panels, but 3% have actually installed them in the last 12 months
  • 7% have considered other renewable energy sources, such as heat pumps, but less than 2% have installed them

However, half of respondents (50%) have made some energy efficiency improvements to their property in the last 12 months

  • 29% have replaced lighting with low energy options, such as LED bulbs
  • 14% have changed windows or doors
  • 13% have improved insulation

Barriers and Incentives

When asked what the biggest barriers would be to them making energy efficiency improvements to their home, most homeowners said that meeting the upfront costs would be a barrier, with 52% citing this. Almost half (47%) felt it would take too long to recover the costs and over a third (36%) were unsure how much money they would save on their energy bills. A lack of affordable finance, such as grants or loans, would be a barrier to 29% of homeowners for making improvements.

These findings emphasise the positive impact that government can have by providing the detail behind the additional £6 billion committed to reducing energy consumption in the Autumn Statement.  Consumers may understandably wait until they have clarity on any grants and subsidised loans that government will make available before they act. 

Buying an energy efficient home

When asked about incentives that would encourage the purchase of an energy efficient home, the most popular choice was a cheaper energy tariff, selected by 57% of all respondents. Other incentives include a cheaper mortgage, cited by 40% and evidence that the improvements would add value to their home, cited by 35%

House Prices

A majority of Brits think that energy improvements would increase the selling price of a property in the UK, with the greatest value being added through:

  • 68% - replacing  windows and doors
  • 66% - upgrading the central heating system
  • 64% - installing solar panels
  • 63% - improving insulation

Commenting, Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage and Housing Policy at the BSA said:

“There is clearly a great deal more to do if the energy efficiency of our buildings is to be improved sufficiently to meet the government’s 2030 ambition.  Positive progress is being made and a number of innovative ideas and approaches are already starting to be tested.  It is certain that there will never be a one size fits all solution, although a fabric first approach seems sensible.  

“Looking ahead, it is essential that consumers have the information that they need to plan the best approach for their home and confidence in what it will deliver.  Lenders must not be incentivised to lend only on the most energy efficient homes.  It is lending on the most energy leaky homes that will deliver the greatest savings in energy consumption and carbon emissions. New-build homes should by definition be energy efficient and government should provide clarity as soon as possible on what they will and won’t do to support consumers who will be trying to bridge the gap between up-front costs and the payback period in these challenging times.”      


Notes to Editors:

1.      In the Autumn Statement of 17 November, The Chancellor announced that the government intends to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 against 2021 levels. New government funding worth £6 billion will be made available from 2025 to 2028, in addition to the £6.6 billion provided in this Parliament. To achieve this target, a new Energy Efficiency taskforce will be charged with delivering energy efficiency across the economy.

2.      Government has announced a trial of hydrogen in a neighbourhood, located in Fife, by 2023, and a large village trial by 2025. The trials will provide crucial evidence to inform decisions on the role of hydrogen in heat decarbonisation in 2026: 


3.      *COP stands for Conference of the parties.  This is the 27th such meeting, “the parties” refers to the 197 nations that agreed to a new environmental pact, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at a meeting in 1992.

4.      Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage and Housing Policy at the BSA is available for interview.  Please contact Tanya Jackson or Katie Wise to arrange.

5.      2022 research details – the survey fieldwork was undertaken between 7 and 10 October 2022. Total sample size was 2104 adults. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.

6.      2021 research details - Total sample size was 2041 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 3rd September 2021.  The survey was carried out online.

7.      The BSA represents all 43 building societies, as well as 7 larger credit unions. Building societies serve almost 26 million consumers across the UK and have total assets of over £481 billion.  Together with their subsidiaries, they are helping over 3.6 million families and individuals to buy their own home with mortgages totalling over £357 billion, representing 23% of total mortgage balances outstanding in the UK.  They are also helping over 23 million people build their financial resilience, holding over £333 billion of retail savings, accounting for 18% of all cash savings in the UK. With all of their headquarters outside London, building societies employ more than 51,500 full and part-time staff.  In addition to digital services they operate through almost 1,350 branches, holding a rising share of financial services branches in local communities.

Press contacts:

Tanya Jackson, External Affairs, Tel: 07881 501098 tanya.jackson@bsa.org.uk

Katie Wise, External Affairs Officer, Tel: 020 7520 5904, katie.wise@bsa.org.uk