Research from Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has found that 90% of Irish homeowners have plans to boost the efficiency of their homes this winter and are willing to spend an average of €1,705 on the necessary upgrades to do so.
However, two-thirds (61%) of Irish homeowners just don’t know where to start and with a full retrofit costing as much as €75,000 it’s clear that homeowners need help understanding where to prioritise investment.
The findings of the research, revealed by Schneider Electric, show that homeowners are ready to make positive changes to lower their home energy consumption but with 77% being discouraged by the perceived expense that comes with green retrofitting they are leaning towards simpler everyday actions in the home.
The top 10 actions being considered are:
- Turning off lights/appliances when not in use (76%)
- Wearing warm clothing around the house rather than turn on the heating (63%)
- Reduce the use of appliances (59%)
- Closing curtains/blinds before dark to retain heat (48%)
- Only heating certain rooms in the house (47%)
- Turning down the thermostat (44%)
- Using more energy efficient appliances (39%)
- Using a fire/wood burner instead of central heating (37%)
- Investing in draught excluders/thicker curtains (27%)
- Using a kettle rather than a hob to heat water (25%)
The energy crisis is helping to accelerate the retrofit market and encouraging people to live more sustainable lives. Whilst the rising cost of energy bills is a key concern for Irish homeowners, those whose home is BER C and below, in the next 12 months, would be willing to invest an average of €1,705 on home efficiency upgrades.
However, with funds tight, homeowners are looking for a quick return on their investment with 65% wanting to see a return on their investment within five years. Only 20% are willing to wait five to 10 years.
Ireland’s National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme provides a grant of 50% of the cost of a typical deep retrofit to a B2 energy rating. Schneider's research shows that four in five (86%) are interested in accessing government grants to fund home improvements for energy efficiency.
But what is also clear is that there needs to be more transparency on the topic as four in five (89%) believe there is still a need for education and guidance on how to make homes more efficient.
Clearly 'common sense' approaches to energy saving, alongside home improvements and smart technology could provide a fast, low-cost solution.
For example, simply draught-proofing gaps can save the average person in Northern Ireland £100 on their annual energy bills and restricting time spent in the shower to four minutes could save up to £90.
When paired with home energy management systems to provide a comprehensive overview of their energy usage these small changes can make a big, overall impact on homeowner’s bills this winter.
Other energy saving tips include:
- Switching appliances off standby mode (annual saving of £30)
- Switching off lights (annual saving of £12)
- Washing at 30 degrees and reducing use by one run a week (annual saving of £16)
- Avoiding using the tumble dryer (annual saving of £35)
- Switching one bath a week for a 4-minute shower (annual saving of £19)
- Fitting an aerator and not overfilling the kettle (annual saving of £36)
- Insulating the hot water cylinder (annual saving of £65)
Chris Collins, country president of Ireland at Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, said: “Evidently homeowners are keen to access government grants to fund home improvements, but they may need more guidance when it comes to finding the right energy saving solutions for them.
"Clearly there is a need for inexpensive energy saving solutions and upgrades that offer quick returns on investment, especially at a time when homeowners need to future-proof against volatile energy prices and power cuts.
“Home improvements and access to smart technology will reduce energy bills, energy poverty and make homes more comfortable, but ‘common-sense’ approaches to conserving energy shouldn’t be underestimated. Small changes can have a big impact on energy bills this winter.”