Picture: Blue Bird/Pexels
Kilkenny homeowners are among those considering making house improvements after spending more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Insights research has found that over half (60%) of Leinster households are considering home improvements due to more time spent at home, illustrative of the impacts of Covid-19, a figure which is broadly in line with a national average of 56%.
The research, which was commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions, Energia and House2Home to mark the nationwide launch of the CU Greener Homes scheme, shows that comfort and warmth (57%) and saving money on energy (51%) are the two main drivers of future Leinster home improvements.
Meanwhile the kitchen (60%) is the room most Leinster respondents would like to improve, with the living room (34%) and the attic (42%) also popular.
When it comes to preferred home improvements, insulation is the first choice for many in Leinster– 32% would like to fit attic insulation, 23% would opt for exterior wall insulation, while 23% would like to improve interior wall insulation.
The research found that 50% would spend up to €5,000 on home improvements with 37% planning to spend in excess of €10,000. This indicates a wide range of improvements are being considered and a significant proportion of Leinster households who are prepared to make a large investment in long-term upgrades. Half of all households surveyed have already upgraded their homes – with 50% having completed home improvements or energy efficiency upgrades in the last three years, which is above the national average of 42%.
Access to finance
Three-quarters (75%) of Leinster households who borrowed to finance their home improvements did so from a credit union, compared to 68% nationally. Of those planning to borrow to fund their future home improvement plans, 30% of respondents said they will borrow from a credit union, compared to 5% who plan to take a bank loan.
Pictured at the launch of CU Greener Homes was Paul Bailey, Head of Communications of the Irish League of Credit Unions with Rory Clarke General Manager of House2Home and Cormac Mannion, Head of Energy Services at Energia. The Irish League of Credit Unions, Energia and House2Home have partnered to launch the CU Greener Homes Scheme offering low-cost credit union loans, market leading grants and the energy efficiency know how to help homeowners with their home upgrades Picture: Conor McCabe Photography
While there is clearly a desire among Leinster households to undertake improvements to maximise the energy efficiency of their homes - 63% of Leinster respondents feel Ireland isn’t doing enough to reduce our carbon footprint - the research highlights a lack of knowledge regarding suitable green home energy solutions and how to get started on this type of project.
Almost two thirds (64%) of Leinster respondents were unsure of what supports and grants are available, and many simply do not know where to start with a home energy efficiency upgrade (66%) while 58% of Leinster households 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.
The research found that 50% would spend up to €5,000 on home improvements with 37% planning to spend in excess of €10,000
"We have been aware for some time, through our member credit unions, of the significant demand for a green home improvement loan," said Paul Bailey, Head of Communications of the Irish League of Credit Unions. "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 across Leinster. In Energia and House2Home, we have found two partners who share our passion for excellent customer experience and commitment to the environment."
"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," said Cormac Mannion, Head of Energy Services at Energia. "The CU Greener Homes scheme is an opportunity for households across Leinster and indeed 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 House 2 Home, two organisations that share our commitment to community and sustainability."
"At House2Home we have been providing home energy upgrades to happy customers since 2013," added Rory Clarke, General Manager of House2Home. "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 Leinster customers and provide them with 1 complete solution when they decide to upgrade their home."
Further information on the CU Greener Home Scheme is available here