Majority Support Cheaper Mortgages for Green Homes

Over three fifths of individuals in the UK believe that mortgages should be cheaper for those who carry out green home improvements.

However, research conducted by Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest producers and retailers of electricity and heat, also revealed the level of confusion among households about what those upgrades should be: less than one in four say they would know what kind of heating system they would need if gas boilers had to be replaced with low-carbon alternatives, for example.

The survey examined attitudes and knowledge around energy and heating in the UK. The findings come ahead of the UK Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, expected to outline a plan for emission-free housing.

The research showed that the majority of UK adults would prefer to live in a home that did not produce carbon emissions (62 per cent), however many do not know how they will fund the upgrade. Less than a quarter of people (23 per cent) were confident that they would be able to stump up the cost to install a low carbon heating system in their home.

People are split over whether it should be more difficult to secure a mortgage for homes that are more polluting, with a third of respondents each agreeing and disagreeing (both 32 per cent) when questioned on this.

There are a range of technologies that can be used to decarbonise heating our homes, including installing heat pumps, connecting homes to district heat networks in urban areas, and potentially using hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas.

As much as 37 per cent of UK carbon emissions come from heating. With around 24 million homes and businesses still using fossil fuels to keep warm, the Government has been warned by their advisors on the Climate Change Committee that there needs to be a plan to phase out fossil fuel heating in order to hit the target of net zero by 2050.

Vattenfall believes the forthcoming Heat and Buildings strategy needs to set out what low-carbon technologies need to be installed in which parts of the country, so that industry can do what is required to get started on the roll-out. This also needs to take into account developing and upskilling the UK’s supply chain and workforce.

Mike Reynolds, managing director at Vattenfall Heat UK said: “Our research shows that although people want to live in low-carbon homes, most don’t know what they need to do to convert their properties nor how they would pay for it.

He added: “The huge cost of insulating homes and removing emissions from heating means we can’t expect bill payers to stump up the money for everything. We need a plan setting out what upgrades need to happen where, and new ideas – such as affordable and simple mortgages for homeowners, or incentives for commercial property owners to go green – to get the money flowing to pay for all of this.”