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Cold, draughty, mouldy: What the UK public think about their homes

New research looking at the public’s energy saving attitudes and behaviours has been revealed by the Energy Saving Trust in the first of a series of public opinion trackers known as the UK Pulse.

The findings from the Ipsos MORI survey of more than 2,000 UK respondents show nearly half of householders (44%) claim to live in homes with draught problems, 38% in homes with condensation problems and 29% in homes with mould. All three issues were higher among renters.

However, home owners with these problems are the most likely to be taking action, with nearly a quarter of homeowners (24%) living in draughty homes planning to install energy efficiency upgrades in the next year, compared with 12% of homeowners overall.

Home renewables, such as solar panels, were considered to be the “ideal” energy efficiency improvement if money and hassle were no object, with most respondents putting this ahead of wall and loft insulation and draught excluders, despite often living in homes with draught problems.

Energy problems weren’t just restricted to issues with bricks and mortar. Nearly half (40%) of those whose energy use feels out of control blame too many appliances in their home.

Many households weren’t sure how much electricity their appliances use. For example, just 16% were able to correctly identify the amount of money it costs the average UK home to run a fridge-freezer during a year, while just 10% knew how much it would cost to run an electric kettle.

Energy Saving Trust estimates UK households could save £5bn a year through making simple changes to their energy use and investing in home renewables.

Energy Saving Trust energy efficiency expert David Weatherall says: “Our homes are in better shape than a decade ago. Millions of cavity walls have been insulated in recent years and virtually no totally uninsulated lofts remain.

“We’ve now got to address leaky homes, encourage more people with suitable homes to invest in renewables and LED lighting and get people thinking about how, when and where they use energy. The bottom line is home owners will benefit from improving their property’s energy performance.

“The research shows that living in cold, draughty and damp homes is a big motivator for people to take action and that renewable technology is the thing that most excites.

“If UK households are considering making energy saving improvements to their home then now is the time to take action in preparation for the winter months and colder temperatures.”

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