Only 7% of homeowners likely to change gas boilers despite rising energy prices, study finds


Only 7% of homeowners with a gas boiler are very likely to consider changing to a different energy source in the next three years as consumers face soaring energy bills, recent research from NatWest and IHS Markit has revealed.

The latest research from the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker, based on responses from 4,500 people across the UK in the fourth quarter of 2021, found that cost remains the greatest stated barrier to homeowners improving the environmental sustainability of their property.

It also found that 33% of respondents are unlikely to make green home improvements due to the perceived disruption it would cause.

Lloyd Cochrane, Head of Mortgages at NatWest commented on the findings: “Our research shows that there is clearly a concern for consumers when making those greater green changes in the home, such as replacing gas boilers.

“With the cost of living increasing and more people working from home faced with rising energy bills, more needs to be done in raising awareness of what improving energy efficiency means for individual customers.

“We launched the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker to help us understand attitudes towards these issues and enable us to build the products, services and processes needed to play our part in tackling climate change and provide useful insight for all those involved in supporting the transition.”

The tracker also found that:

  • One in five households are very concerned about the carbon emissions produced by homes in the UK
  • Over half (55%) of homeowners have already made positive changes to the environmental sustainability of their property
  • Around one-third (33%) of UK households that are looking to buy a property over the next decade believed the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of a property was a ‘very important’ factor

According to the research, the recent rises in wholesale gas prices are an illustration of the challenges that consumers face as they try to understand what they can do to play their part, how much that may cost and how they can protect themselves from rising energy bills.

However, there was a positive change in attitudes towards green home improvements towards the end of 2021.

As consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of their carbon footprint, 63% of homeowners are planning to make green home improvements in the next decade. This was up from 55% last quarter.

Other findings of the tracker included:

  • The majority (58%) of those living in rented accommodation said that neither they nor their landlords had made improvements during the time they had lived at the property, compared with 37% of homeowners who had made no changes
  • Renters were less likely to have either double-glazed windows, energy efficient lighting or a smart energy meter
  • 53% of renters strongly agreed that landlords should be required to ensure that the property meets certain minimum environmental sustainability standards
  • 45% of renters (32% of homeowners) strongly agreed that rented properties should be assessed every 3 years to ensure that they meet minimum environmental sustainability standard

The full tracker is available on the NatWest website.