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Research reveals key opportunities for selling energy efficient improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2013 at 10:16 am

The challenge for green deal providers and installers is to "sell or package" energy efficiency measures as a solution to the trials and tribulations of domestic life according to research published earlier this year by the UK Energy Research Centre

Researchers debunked the idea that market barriers, such as upfront costs and lack of trust in installers, are holding back a flood of demand for energy efficiency in homes as "overly simplistic". They say that the biggest motivating factor in the decision to renovate is to improve domestic life: households face competing priorities and those who need to extend or adapt space at home are more likely to consider renovation. It found that energy efficiency is rarely the main motivating factor for people's decisions to make home renovations.

They found that targeting attractive green deal propositions at homeowners planning to renovate their kitchens, bathrooms or living spaces is an important way to improve energy efficiency in homes. Up to a third of decisions to renovate are triggered by specific events such as when a boiler or window needs replacing.

For homeowners planning to renovate, the green deal is an attractive option. The research found that homeowners planning to spend £5,000 on insulation and a boiler upgrade are more than twice as likely to use the green deal than not.

More encouraging for energy efficiency businesses is the finding that the green deal can also be used to expand the scope of homeowners expansion plans. People who decide to go ahead with renovations are willing to consider additional energy efficiency renovations at the same time, using the green deal to pay the upfront costs. 

Homeowners planning to spend £5,000 updating their kitchen are only half as likely to stick with their plans when presented with the option of adding in £5,000 of energy efficiency measures paid for through the green deal.

Once people have decided to renovate, researchers found that "a clear and attractive value proposition from service providers is essential". They define this as a bundle of product and service attributes, key among which are:

  • Costs and how to pay

  • Trustworthiness and reliability

  • Hassle and disruption to normal life

  • Finding out information to support making a decision

  • Warranties

"In a nutshell, homeowners place particular importance on managing costs, on having a reliable contractor and a hassle-free renovation process," say researchers.

An easier life at home? Selling the green deal to UK households by Dr George Chryssochoidis and Dr Charlie Wilson of University of East Anglia is the interim findings from the VERD project on home renovations and the green deal, funded by UK Energy Research Centre. 

More information on YouGen

YouGen guide to the green deal

YouGen guide to energy efficiency

YouGen guide to insulation

Picture: London Permaculture

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