How climate concerns are impacting Britain's wealthy young homeowners

Property Reporter
12th May 2022
energy efficiency

Over a third of young millionaires have made changes to their homes to make them more sustainable and nearly three quarters are planning further green home improvements over the next 12 months, according to research by Coutts.

A new study from the wealth manager and private bank found that millionaire homeowners aged between 18 and 44 are leading the way on planned green home upgrades including:

· Switching to sustainably sourced or recycled materials – 42% (compared with 11% on average)

· Adding energy-efficient measures such as insulation – 30% (compared with 14% on average)

· Installing solar panels – 24% (compared with 11% on average)

· Changing land to be more sustainable – 24% (compared with 6% on average)

· Installing air source heat pumps – 21% (compared with 4% on average)

This generation of millionaires is also more likely to have already invested in making their homes and land more sustainable over the past five years, including changing their land use (24%) and installing solar panels (21%) – compared to the high net worth average of 15% and 11% respectively. The findings suggest the trend towards sustainable homeownership will continue as younger people take on more of Britain’s significant property, farmland, and country estates.

Embracing sustainability is rapidly becoming the new lifestyle choice for many. The latest UN Climate Change Report goes as far to say that eco-living needs to be seen as aspirational to help drive behavioural change.

Some of the ways that millionaires are making a difference to their homes include:

· Installing Tesla-friendly EV rapid home chargers

· Upgrading bathrooms to reduce water wastage

· Switching to sustainable materials such as recycled steel, recycled glass and reclaimed wood

· Installing green roofing (partially covering a roof with vegetation)

Some of the top tips from Coutts on ‘greening’ your home:

· Insulate as much as possible. Heat is lost through the roof, walls and floors of your home, so the more you can do to plug these gaps the better. For extra eco-cred, insulating with recycled denim or sheep wool is good for the planet as well as your home.

· Replace your lightbulbs with LED versions. This is one of the easiest and most effective changes you can make, with financial savings as well as eco ones, especially if you currently have energy-guzzling halogens.

· Aerate your shower. Swapping your showerhead for an aerated version, which injects air into the water stream, limiting water flow, will save you money on heating and water bills as well as helping the planet.

· Get green fingers for green living. If you have a garden, forget that obsession with a tidy lawn and plant wild flowers, or at least let the lawn grow long before mowing. If you have a balcony, plant bee-friendly plants in pots. If you have neither, be sure to cultivate houseplants.

· Get a smart thermostat system. There are plenty of options available on the high street which allow you to switch on the heating when you need it, and turn it off when you don't, ensuring you don't waste energy. Pairing them with thermostatic radiator valves in each room can help you to create different 'zones' so you aren't warming the whole house unnecessarily.

Katherine O’Shea, Director, Coutts Real Estate Investment Service, comments: “The UK has some of the oldest housing stock in Europe, and even across the world, due to the number of homes built during the Industrial Revolution. Whilst it’s great these properties still form the heart of our towns and cities, they can also present environmental challenges when it comes to things like energy efficiency.

“Sustainable home improvements aren’t just a way to address the climate crisis – they can also be a sound investment. There are some easy eco-upgrades that can help all homeowners save money and boost the value of your house price too”.

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