Homeowners across Ireland set to invest in home improvements in 2021, motivated by comfort and warmth as well as energy savings.
Almost two thirds (60%) unsure of what supports and grants are available while 58% don’t know where to start with a home energy efficiency upgrade.
Extensive home-owner research undertaken to mark the national launch of the CU Greener Homes Scheme, a new one stop shop from the Irish League of Credit Unions, Energia and House2Home, offering grants of up to 40% and low-cost loans from 4.9% APR for home improvement works.
Insights research commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions, Energia and House2Home to mark the nationwide launch of the CU Greener Homes scheme has found that over half (56%) of Irish households are considering home improvements due to more time spent at home, illustrative of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research shows that comfort and warmth (68%) and saving money on energy (63%) are the two main drivers of future Irish home improvements. Meanwhile the kitchen (56%) is the room most people would like to improve, with the exterior of the house (44%) and living room (41%) also popular.
When it comes to preferred home improvements, insulation is the first choice for many - 34% would like to fit exterior wall insulation, 33% would opt for attic insulation while 29% would favour extra window glazing. The research found that 64% would spend up to €5,000 on home improvements with 26% planning to spend in excess of €10,000. This indicates a wide range of improvements are being considered and a significant proportion of Irish households who are prepared to make a large investment in long-term upgrades.
Access to finance:
Of those who have recently carried out home improvement upgrades, 60% primarily used their savings to pay for the work, with 21% borrowing money to get work complete. Of this borrowing cohort, 68% turned to their local credit union with just 23% using a bank.
One third (33%) of respondents who are planning future home improvements said they will borrow from a credit union, compared to only 10% who plan to take a bank loan.
Carbon Footprint and Sustainable Homes:
57% of respondents feel Ireland isn’t doing enough to reduce our carbon footprint. The research also shows that issues around energy efficiency and climate change are prevalent in people’s thoughts, with 43% considering future home improvements to be more climate friendly. In addition, 77% think a better BER or energy rating for their own home would positively impact the environment.
Barriers to improvement:
While there is clearly a desire among Irish households to undertake improvements to maximise the energy efficiency of their homes, the research highlights a lack of knowledge regarding suitable green home energy solutions and how to get started on this type of project. Many (58%) simply do not know where to start with a home energy efficiency upgrade while almost two thirds (60%) of respondents were unsure of what supports and grants are available. 59% said they would carry out more green home improvements if the process appeared to be more straight forward, indicating a desire to upgrade but uncertainty on how to realise this ambition.
Paul Bailey, Head of Communications of the Irish League of Credit Unions said, “We have been aware for some time, through our member credit unions, of the significant demand for a green home improvement loan. In keeping with the Government’s Climate Action Plan, we embarked on an explorative journey with Energia and House2Home to see how we could collaborate to deliver the SEAI preferred one stop shop approach to deep retrofitting. The outcome of this journey is the CU Greener Homes scheme. Our aim is to make the process of deep retrofitting easy and cost effective for credit union members with loans from as low as 4.9%. In Energia and House2Home, we have found two partners who share our passion for excellent customer experience and commitment to the environment”.
Cormac Mannion, Head of Energy Services at Energia commented; “In the last 12 months we have spent more time at home than ever, so it is unsurprising to see people report that they are seeking new ways to create a comfortable, and cost-efficient environment at home. The CU Greener Homes scheme is an opportunity for households across Ireland to undertake meaningful improvements and changes that will not only benefit them, but also their community, the broader environment and future generations. Through our work to supply 100% green energy to communities across Ireland, we see the tangible benefits of such changes. We are delighted to partner with the Irish League of Credit Unions and House2Home, two organisations that share our commitment to community and sustainability.”
Rory Clarke, General Manager of House2Home commented; “At House2Home we have been providing home energy upgrades to happy customers since 2013. We believe in a cleaner, greener future for our communities and look forward to partnering with the Irish League of Credit Unions and Energia, who share this commitment. We are delighted to bring the full House2Home experience to customers and provide them with one complete solution when they decide to upgrade their home.”
Find out more here.
About the Research:
iReach Insights conducted this research on behalf of the Irish League of Credit Unions, examining home improvements. The research conducted is nationally representative by Age, Gender, Region, SES and received 1,002 responses. The research report provides insights into previous home improvements, future home improvements, and the importance of green energy. The report also provides insights on working from home and awareness of BER ratings and energy grants.