COP26 – New report reveals extensive public support for building renovation

November 11, 2021

A new report released today by ROCKWOOL Group and Cambridge Econometrics maps a clear path to greener buildings and shows strong support from the public to renovate their homes, if adequate financial and administrative support is available.

Increasing building renovation rates is central to achieving net-zero carbon targets

  • Buildings are responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States; 36 percent in the EU; and 42 percent in the United Kingdom.
  • New global data shows 79 percent of people would renovate their homes to make them more energy efficient, if adequate financial and administrative support is available; 73 percent support mandatory energy efficiency improvements.
  • In a new report, ROCKWOOL Group and Cambridge Econometrics set out policy solutions to achieve effective retrofit plans for greener homes and buildings and reducing energy-related costs.

New York, NY (November 11, 2021) – A new report released today by ROCKWOOL Group and Cambridge Econometrics maps a clear path to greener buildings and shows strong support from the public to renovate their homes, if adequate financial and administrative support is available. Including data from a global first-of-its-kind survey of 14,000 people in the United States, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom, the report confirms the public appetite for energy efficient buildings, while also showcasing the need for governments to develop fit-for-purpose renovation programs.

The polling by OnePoll shows eight of 10 (79 percent) people would renovate their home, given the right assistance. In an even stronger show of support for greening the built environment, 73 percent believe energy efficiency improvements should be mandatory, provided financial and administrative support is available. Sixty-two percent believe it is their social responsibility to make their homes climate friendly, given the same support is available.

ROCKWOOL Group CEO Jens Birgersson comments, “It may be a cliché, but it is also true – the cheapest, cleanest and safest energy is that which we do not use. Global leaders have to remember that ideas are cheap, but energy is expensive. If we prioritize renovation, we send a clear message that we are investing in the future of people and our planet. And that is a winning formula that we can act on now”.

Americans demonstrated among the strongest support for energy-related renovations, with 85 percent of respondents citing that they would be either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to make their current home more energy-efficient if the right financial support and resources were available. The findings are significant given that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans spend approximately $100 billion each year on wasted energy from buildings.

The new data forms part of a report by Cambridge Econometrics on behalf of ROCKWOOL Group, which details the challenges to funding renovation programs and explores the solutions to help overcome them.

In the report ‘Unlocking the Benefits of Building Renovation’, ROCKWOOL and Cambridge Econometrics urge policymakers to develop the long-term renovation programs that manufacturers need to plan production capacity and properly train more installers; team up with banks to combine public grants and low-interest loans; and make it easier for households to apply for subsidies and find qualified workers.

Jon Stenning, Associate Director at Cambridge Econometrics, says, “Renovating the built environment is a key challenge on the road to decarbonizing our economies. The consumer poll carried out for this report shows that there is substantial consumer appetite for retrofitting, but that much more must be done to match up financing with renovation projects. Well-designed policy can play a major role in bringing the whole value chain together, ensuring that resources are well-targeted and help to build up capacity and interest at a local level to ensure that the benefits of energy retrofits can be realized”.

Jens Birgersson continues, “Money is not the problem. While there will always be a debate about the costs of climate action – and hopefully also about the costs of inaction – the fact is that there is plenty of money available for building renovations and other green investments. And renovation itself is not rocket science. It requires using well-known materials and building practices, and that is a big advantage. The issue is connecting the funding sources with the on-the-ground projects and ensuring we have the skilled workforce in place”.

The report stresses the need for governments to do more to make already-available funding accessible to building owners. This is a clear priority in the eyes of homeowners, with 51 percent citing costs as the main barrier to renovating, and 53 percent believing that governments need to support home improvements with grants or loans.

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