Future proofing homeowners: How energy efficiency is replacing aesthetics in our homes

EV charging points and solar panels are the new designer sofas and accent painting according to research from Hive which reveals the extent of the UK's future-proofing revolution.

Related topics:  Property,  Energy Efficiency,  Home Improvement
Property | Reporter
23rd June 2023
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"It’s clear that Brits are increasingly prioritising energy efficiency in their home over aesthetic changes so that they have greater control over their emissions"

It may still be true that for many, their home is their ‘castle’ but if so, it needs to be a well-insulated castle.

The latest research from Hive revealed that the top selling points of a dream home for modern Brits are related to sustainability, with solar panels (68%) and good roof insulation (67%) valued more than design features such as natural lighting (53%), wooden flooring (22%) and reclaimed woodwork (21%).

Smart home technology such as a smart heating system (62%), a smart energy meter (48%) and an EV charger on the driveway (39%) were also top considerations.

55% agree that making our homes sustainable is something that everyone should be thinking about with 47% already making changes to their current home for the purpose of making it greener. Installing a smart meter (37%), adding energy-efficient lighting (34%), upgrading their roof insulation (33%) and installing a water meter (26%) were the main changes.

Whilst only 4.5% of the UK own an electric car, with the sale of new petrol and diesel cars being banned in 2030, 39% said they would like to install an EV charger onto their driveway if they could afford to – demonstrating the move towards making your home more sustainable and fit for a green future.

When it comes to being more sustainable, 32% say they would be willing to pay an extra £11,730 for a home that was eco-friendly. It’s not just those looking for new homes that desire a greener property. 69% would be willing to invest in their current home to make it more sustainable as it can help save them money and increase the resale of their home. In fact, data has shown adding smart elements like an EV charger to your home, can increase the value by up to £5,000.

When it comes to installing more efficient elements into the home, those surveyed were particularly interested in smart technology, with 87% of Brits saying they would love to introduce more smart devices into their homes, citing increased control of energy costs (67%) and being able to better track energy usage (63%) as the top reason for this change.

Top 10 most desired eco home upgrades

1. Solar panels 68%

2. Good roof insulation 67%

3. Good thermal wall insulation 63%

4. Smart heating system 62%

5. Energy efficient lighting 59%

6. Smart lighting 56%

7. Triple-glazed windows 56%

8. Good natural lighting 53%

9. Energy efficient fridge 51%

10. Energy smart meter 48%

Gavin Murray, Hive and EV Director at British Gas, who commissioned the study, comments: “This research shows how important sustainability is in the modern home.

“It’s clear that Brits are increasingly prioritising energy efficiency in their home over aesthetic changes so that they have greater control over their emissions. And there is true value in making these changes – as net zero technology from solar panels to smart thermostats and EV chargers, is helping customers to better track their energy usage, set schedules and keep costs down.

"As electric cars increase in popularity, at-home chargers, like our new EV charger, will likely become the norm and worth investing in now.”

However, while people are interested in installing chargers in their homes, common perceptions are putting people off from making the switch. Concerns that EVs aren't able to cover enough miles without recharging (27%), that it takes too long to charge (25%) and that the price of electricity will soon overtake the price of petrol (21%) were all reasons cited.

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