Cash saving beats eco concerns as main reason to ‘green’ your home

Here is an article that has come through to me today that I found interesting for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, a survey undertaken by Pilkington Glass highlights how saving money rather than saving the planet, is the main priority for UK households when it comes to making green choices.

If you are a regular reader of my articles here and in my other media columns, you will know that this is what I have truly believed from the outset. Many people are concerned about the environment, but when it comes to actually making changes in these cash-strapped times, the only green changes that will be adopted are ones that are simple, save time AND save money. That’s why as the Queen of Easy Green™, I have made it my mission to share with regular, busy households simple tips and advice which saves time, money and are easy green into the bargain – fear not, my work will continue ;)

Secondly, the article makes the observation that it is men who are more likely to make green changes to save money, whereas women are more likely to want to protect the environment for future generations. Now I’m not sure I believe this to be entirely accurate, particularly as it is a fact that women make 85% of ALL purchasing decisions in the home, from food, technology, leisure time and home improvements. It seems unlikely to me that this would not be the case when it comes to making green choices.

I think the statement  ‘with men more likely than women – 29 per cent – to say they had done all they could to make their home green’ maybe this is more indicative of perception, rather than fact, i.e. they [men] believe they have done everything they can to make their home green, when the reality is more could be done. That’s just my thought.

Anyway, it’s an interesting read and shows more ways in which we can all save energy and money in our home – with fuel bills rising, we need to know as much as we can.

Saving money is now our main motivation for carrying out ‘green’ home improvements – ahead of concerns for the environment.

One in four of us say we’re thinking about carrying out energy-efficient measures, but our reasons are as much to do with keeping costs down as saving the planet.  According to research by Pilkington Building Products, more than a third (36 per cent) of householders say soaring bills are making them plump for innovative measures.

But only 26 per cent cite saving the environment for future generations as their main reason for home ‘greening’.  Helping the Government meet its targets to reduce the country’s carbon footprint was judged to be even less important – with just two per cent of those quizzed saying making a contribution would encourage them to adopt an eco-friendly measure.

The survey, conducted as part of the MOT Your Home™ campaign by Pilkington Building Products, also revealed nearly half of us have made energy-efficient upgrades in the last year, with 20 per cent planning more green projects in future.  On the flipside, almost one in five – 18 per cent – say they have never made an energy-efficient upgrade and don’t plan to any time soon.

Homeowners in Sheffield, Edinburgh and Cardiff are the most proactive, while surprisingly, those living in Brighton – home to Britain’s first Green Party MP – are least receptive, with a quarter admitting they didn’t consider eco-efficiency a priority at all.

Interestingly, more than half of homeowners say they would be happy to pay more for an energy-efficient property in future, with one in five (18 per cent) saying they’d only consider paying up to £1,000 extra and one in ten (10 per cent) claiming they would shell out £5,000.

Young people, those between 25 and 34, are the age group most likely to pay over the odds with Liverpudlians the regional homeowners most at ease with considering a green property (61 per cent).

The research also found that gender plays a part in our green thinking too, with men more likely than women – 29 per cent – to say they had done all they could to make their home green.  Females are more likely to want to make changes, but at a time that suited them (19 per cent). Men claim money saving is the key incentive for being green, whereas women are more inclined to want to save the environment for future generations.

Older people – those aged 55+ – are more likely to have already made green upgrades so felt unwilling to carry our more, while more than a third of 16-24 year olds admit they aren’t interested in trying to save energy.

As architect and TV presenter, George Clarke, explains, making small changes can make all the difference when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your home – and maintaining those green measures already installed is just as important.

As he says: “It’s encouraging to see that many of us have taken steps to make our homes greener and that people are actively thinking about how to make their homes more environmentally friendly – which will help save money in the long run.  But, when it comes to making upgrades, it can be hard to know where to start.

“Some projects might involve an initial outlay but then reap the benefits in the long run, such as upgrading from single glazing to energy-efficient double glazing like Pilkington energiKare™.  And others – like simply switching to energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the house – can be straightforward to implement and be activated quickly and cheaply.

“It’s important to research carefully to ensure you choose the most effective measures for your home.  For example, installing solar panels is a great way to help generate energy for your home, and any energy you don’t use can now be sold back to the national grid as part of the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme.

“However, solar panels are not suitable for all homes as it depends on the roof profile and which way it faces – roofs that face south or south east are perfect to capture the most solar energy. You will also need to check if your home is in a conservation area, as installing solar panels could be restricted.

“I’d also recommend an annual check-up of green measures already installed, to ensure they are still efficient and working properly, think of it as an MOT for your home.”

For more information on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home, visit www.pilkington.co.uk/energikare or call 01744 692000.

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