- Bill Starkey
Britain Ranks Among the Lowest in Europe for Green Living
The Green Living Index is a survey that ranks 28 European countries based on their sustainable housing practices. The UK ranked near the bottom of the list at 23, with particularly low scores for sustainability and renewable energy.
The Index revealed that just 12% of UK household energy consumption is powered by renewable sources. By contrast, homes in Portugal, Germany, Austria, and Sweden were found to be the most energy efficient.
The survey analyzed factors such as recycling rates, use of renewable energy for heating and cooling, interest in recycled furniture, and household sizes and housing types. Survey participants were also asked whether they actively contributed towards combatting climate change.
UK scores poorly in most aspects of the study Ranking 23rd out of 28, the UK scored poorly in most aspects of the study. However, in recycling, the results were more encouraging, with 44% of UK waste being reused. In addition, UK citizens were found to be some of the most proactive in terms of sustainability, with almost 60% of respondents reporting that they were actively engaged in combatting climate change.
Jan Hase, the CEO of Wunderflats, the German platform for temporary furnished homes that published the Green Living Index, said that the survey results indicated that even some of the greenest countries had some catching up to do to reach the EU target of climate neutrality by 2050. Pointing out that the ambitious goal would only be achieved through collaboration, Mr. Hase explained that the aim of the Green Living Index was to help identify different stages along the way, enabling the housing sector to learn from countries that had already met challenges more successfully.
Wunderflats is a Berlin-based company that was founded by Hase and Arkadi Jampolski in 2015. Today, the company is a market leader for temporary furnished homes, connecting property owners, tenants, and companies with the mission of enabling everyone to live and work anywhere they choose.
Portugal ranks first for sustainable living Portugal ranked first in the Green Living Index overall for sustainable living, with residential buildings consuming just 70 kilowatt-hours per square meter, on average, which is less than half the consumption of the average European home. The Green Living Index also revealed that an impressive 83% of Portuguese respondents were actively engaged in combatting climate change.
In terms of renewable energy, Sweden ranked second in the survey, primarily due to the country’s use of renewable energy sources, with 66% of energy consumption for heating, and 56% of total Swedish energy consumption, derived from sustainable sources.
Germany ranks third in renewable energy Meanwhile, Germany ranked third in renewable energy, the country producing more solar energy than any other European nation, according to the study, with German photovoltaic systems producing providing a total of 590 watts per capita for the energy grid versus a European average of just 168 watts.
In the wake of the Green Living Index came research from the UK’s Home Builders Federation (HBF). Published in March 2022 to mark New Homes Week, the report analyzed the extent to which energy efficiency is guiding the home-moving decisions of British people. According to the HBF, 73% of respondents were concerned about their current homes’ energy performance, with 24% agreeing that energy efficiency would be a “crucial” factor in their next home move. The HBF commissioned the research to investigate sentiment among British homeowners regarding sustainable living in the wake of the recent energy crisis and increased public awareness regarding climate change.
Around 2,000 people from all over the UK participated in the HBF’s Greener, Cleaner, Cheaper report, the results revealing the full extent to which environmental factors and energy efficiency guide people’s choices of where to live in the UK. The report revealed an emphasis on sustainability in homebuyers’ criteria, with increased demand on UK residential developers for more energy-efficient living. Having a good Energy Performance Certificate and eco-friendliness were cited as driving factors in purchase decisions.
New home buyers save over $450 on energy bills The HBF report suggests that buyers of new homes are saving over $450 on their energy bills, on average, with new-build homes producing almost 600,000 less tons of carbon last year than older properties. The research indicates that although new build homes are 7.4% larger than older properties, on average, purchasers of new-build properties are still generating valuable savings every month.
According to research from the British home builder Redrow, demand for sustainable homes is “massively underrated.” Redrow’s report indicated that 63% of home buyers showed a preference for sustainable homes, with purchasers prioritizing features such as efficient boilers, renewable energy supplies, and thermal wall insulation.
As Redrow’s sustainability manager, Nicola Johansen, explained, the findings challenge long claimed yet underresearched assertions that there is limited demand in the UK for sustainable homes. Indeed, it bears testament to the fact that the carbon footprint of developments is an important factor in home buyers’ decisions. It is hoped that Redrow’s report will provide a benchmark for building methods and marketing strategies catering to rising demand for sustainable homes.