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The UK’s Best Places for Eco-Friendly Homes and Lifestyle

New research from Rated People reveals the places in the UK with the most eco-friendly homes, and where residents have the most sustainable lifestyles.

Edinburgh takes the top spot overall for the UK’s most ‘future forward’ city, scoring highly for both eco-friendly homes and a sustainable lifestyle. Norwich is the top place in the UK with the most eco-friendly homes and Plymouth residents have the most environmentally friendly lifestyles in the country.

Future Forward 

The findings are taken from this year’s Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report, where different UK cities were scored against a set of 34 ‘eco criteria’ ranging from how many residents now eat less meat, to how many homes have smart meters and electric car charging points – 20 of the measures relate to how eco-friendly our homes are, and the other 14 are connected to sustainable ways of living. 

The top 10 most ‘future forward’ places in the UK (and each city’s ‘future forward’ score) are:

1. Edinburgh 50.5
2. Plymouth 50.2
3. Norwich 48.4
4. Southampton 48.2
5. Cardiff 47.5
6. Nottingham 47.1
7. Belfast 46.1
8. Brighton 45.7
9. Glasgow 45.3
10. London 45

Each city scored points according to the percentage of homes that had eco upgrades to increase their energy efficiency or how eco-friendly they are – from standard eco improvements like double glazing and extra insulation to less common additions like biomass boilers and wind turbines. Added to that, points were also on offer for the percentage of residents who said they do things like recycling, eating less meat and growing their own food. 

In total, a maximum of 200 points were on offer, and Edinburgh, with a score of 50.5 overall, is the best place to live in the UK for an eco-friendly lifestyle and home.  

The research also discovered that demand for eco-friendly home improvement jobs increased by a massive 41 per cent in the run-up to 2021 and more than half (57 per cent) of UK residents said they wanted to find ways to be more eco-friendly in the future. So, the report highlights the progress that’s already been made in the UK around living more sustainably, but it also shows there’s a strong appetite and lots of potential for more to be done – whether that’s making lifestyle changes or increasing the energy efficiency of our homes. 

Eco-Friendly Homes

When looking specifically at how energy-efficient and eco-friendly our homes are, the research calculated how properties in the UK stacked up against the set of 20 ‘eco home criteria’ – ranging from how many homes have extra insulation, to how many homes have smart meters and electric car charging points.

The top 10 places in the UK with the most eco-friendly homes (and each city’s eco-home score) are:

1. Norwich 15.1
2. Cardiff 15
3. Glasgow 14.9
4. Liverpool 14.5
5. Edinburgh 14.5
6. Nottingham 14.2
7. Southampton 13.8
8. Manchester 13.8
9. Belfast 13.8
10. Sheffield 13.7

When looking at each city’s scores for eco-friendly homes, with a total of 100 points on offer, the individual scores may seem low – this is primarily because, alongside common measures like insulation and double glazing, the research also looked into how many homes have non-mainstream technologies, like heat pumps, biomass boilers and electric cars, which only a very small percentage of homes currently have.  

Top Cities For Different Eco Home Upgrades

Homes in Glasgow are the most likely in the UK to be double glazed, with 72 per cent of homes kitted out with this eco upgrade. Cardiff homes are top for extra insulation, with 38 per cent having it installed – more than any other city. For smart meters, it’s Edinburgh, with 35 per cent of homes having one, and for energy-efficient appliances, Sheffield comes out on top, with 21 per cent of homes replacing older, less efficient models within the last five years. 

When it comes to less common ways to increase a home’s energy efficiency, Newcastle is the city with the highest percentage of homes to have biomass boilers, with 5 per cent of properties fitted with one. For electric cars, it’s Belfast, with 6 per cent of homes having one on the drive, and for heat pumps, it’s Liverpool, with 5 per cent of homes using the eco-friendly heating alternative.  

Sustainable Lifestyles

Out of the 34 different eco measurements in total, 14 related to lifestyle, for example using less plastic, donating clothes instead of throwing them in the bin, or using eco-friendly cleaning products. 

The top 10 UK cities where residents do the most to live sustainably (and each city’s eco-lifestyle score – out of a possible 100) are:

1. Plymouth 36.5
2. Edinburgh 36
3. Southampton 34.4
4. Norwich 33.3
5. Nottingham 32.9
6. Brighton 32.6
7. Cardiff 32.5
8. Belfast 32.3
9. Bristol 32
10. London 31.9


When looking at individual lifestyle factors, with almost half (46 per cent) of Edinburgh’s residents saying they now eat less meat than they did before, the Scottish capital takes the top spot for decreasing the amount of meat in their diets.  

Plymouth has reduced plastic use the most, with three quarters (75 per cent) of residents saying they now use less plastic. More than half (52 per cent) of Brighton residents say they buy second hand, making it the top city for sustainable shopping and Bristol is the top city when looking at how many people are part of a tree-planting initiative, with more than a fifth (22 per cent) of residents saying they’re part of one.