Sustainable retrofitting Sustainable retrofitting

Women aged 30-45 leading the charge for sustainable retrofits in UK homes

When it comes to environmental change, sisters are doing it for themselves – and for future generations. Greta Thunberg inspired a global youth movement that has shamed governments around the world for their lack of commitment to the environment. Norway’s first female Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, coined the UN’s definition of sustainable development (“meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”). Kenya’s Wangari Maathai founded a movement that has led to over 51 million trees being planted.

Here in the UK, it was a group of women – The Nanas – who stopped fracking in the North of England. And now new data from proptech firm houzen has shown that women are driving change within the home as well, leading the country’s sustainability retrofits.

According to research undertaken by houzen co-founder Robert Csercse, women aged 30-45 are sharply focused on the issue of retrofitting home energy systems to deliver enhanced energy efficiency.

houzen helps people understand the impact of sustainable retrofitting on their home. Doing so can lead to growth in the property’s value (houzen has seen growth of 6-12% in value for sustainable retrofitted units when it comes to investor’s ROI). It also, of course, provides a quantifiable energy efficiency increase, delivering savings on energy bills and environmental benefits including the reduction of the home’s carbon emissions.

Through its sustainability reports, houzen helps owners get to grips with the full cost of sustainable retrofitting, as well as the timescales involved and the overall savings/return on investment that doing so can generate. Unlike EPC reports, which offer a one-time snapshot of the current situation and short-term issues, the sustainability reports support owners to prepare for the future, offering clear, actionable recommendations and quantifiable outputs for the medium- to long-term. They include a timeline, cost estimate, assessment of the availability of contractors and details of the availability and price fluctuations of materials (such as cement and plywood). The latter allows owners to optimize the price they pay for materials.

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All of this makes it easy for homeowners to see precisely what is involved in making their property more sustainable, but houzen’s service doesn’t stop there. The company also advises on financing (including potential government grants) and can plan, execute and manage the retrofitting on the homeowner’s behalf. 

“The lack of clarity around the cost of sustainable improvements is putting many people off. However, our research has found that women aged 30-45 are particularly conscious of energy efficiency issues. Both the environmental situation and recent energy price hikes are driving this, with women seeking to have greater control over the cost of their energy bills and hedge against inevitable future increases in energy costs, as well as to save the planet.”

Robert Csercse, Co-founder, houzen

Nor is it just homeowners who are focused on energy efficiency. houzen has found that the younger generation of renters seems to be much more conscious about the importance of net-zero to the environment. Many have advised that they would be willing to pay 15-20% more rent for a property with better sustainability credentials.

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Property & Development Magazine