The public want to go green, they just can’t afford it

A new report from Rockwool Group shows strong public support for home renovation, if adequate financial support is available.

A new report released today by Rockwool Group and Cambridge Econometrics maps a clear path to greener buildings and shows strong support from the public to renovate their homes, if adequate financial and administrative support is available.

Including data from a global first-of-its-kind survey of 14,000 people in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States, the report confirms the public appetite for energy efficient buildings, while also showcasing the need for governments to develop fit-for-purpose renovation programmes.

The polling by OnePoll shows eight of 10 (79 percent) people would renovate their home, given the right assistance. In an even stronger show of support for greening the built environment, 73 percent believe energy efficiency improvements should be mandatory, provided financial and administrative support is available. Sixty-two percent believe it is their social responsibility to make their homes climate friendly, given the same support is available.

Rockwool Group CEO Jens Birgersson comments, “It may be a cliché, but it is also true – the cheapest, cleanest and safest energy is that which we do not use. Global leaders have to remember that ideas are cheap, but energy is expensive. If we prioritise renovation, we send a clear message that we are investing in the future of people and our planet. And that is a winning formula that we can act on now.”

The new data forms part of a report by Cambridge Econometrics on behalf of Rockwell Group, which details the challenges to funding renovation programmes and explores the solutions to help overcome them.

In the report Unlocking the Benefits of Building Renovation, Rockwool and Cambridge Econometrics urge policymakers to develop the long-term renovation programmes that manufacturers need to plan production capacity and properly train more installers; team up with banks to combine public grants and low-interest loans; and make it easier for households to apply for subsidies and find qualified workers.

Jon Stenning, Associate Director at Cambridge Econometrics, says, “Renovating the built environment is a key challenge on the road to decarbonising our economies. The consumer poll carried out for this report shows that there is substantial consumer appetite for retrofitting, but that much more must be done to match up financing with renovation projects. Well-designed policy can play a major role in bringing the whole value chain together, ensuring that resources are well-targeted and help to build up capacity and interest at a local level to ensure that the benefits of energy retrofits can be realised.”

Birgersson adds, “Money is not the problem. While there will always be a debate about the costs of climate action – and hopefully also about the costs of inaction – the fact is that there is plenty of money available for building renovations and other green investments. And renovation itself is not rocket science. It requires using well-known materials and building practices, and that is a big advantage. The issue is connecting the funding sources with the on-the-ground projects, and ensuring we have the skilled workforce in place.”

The report stresses the need for governments to do more to make already-available funding accessible to building owners. This is a clear priority in the eyes of homeowners, with 51 percent citing costs as the main barrier to renovating, and 53 percent believing that governments need to support home improvements with grants or loans.

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