More than half of Brits are spending their time at home in the cold and dark for fear of rising household bills, according to new research which lays bare the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
A survey by Barratt Developments PLC – which includes Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Barratt London – found a whopping 57 per cent of people are having to keep lights switched off and suffer plummeting temperatures at home this winter in a bid to save cash.
Rising living costs are worrying consumers of all ages. The survey of 4,000 consumers, including those in the South West, revealed that 85% of both Baby Boomers and Generation Z have turned down their heating – while those under 26 are the most worried about being able to afford their energy bills.
The research also found that there has been a spike in consumers going back to the things that their grandparents did to save money on utility bills.
Bringing back thermals and draught excluders
Some 58% of respondents said they are wearing thermal tops and bottoms to avoid putting on the heating. A quarter have gone back to using electric blankets in bed.
Others are turning-off radiators in under-used rooms (57%), buying draught excluders (40%) for the bottom of doors and putting up heavy curtains over doors and windows (41%).
The University of Salford – which operates Energy House, the world’s largest climate-controlled chamber, and researches both innovative energy efficiency technology and age-old methods of draught exclusion – found that by hanging lined curtains in front of a door reduced the amount of heat lost by 16%. Drawing the curtains and blinds on a typical end terrace house could save approximately 2% on heating bills.
Professor Richard Fitton, from the University of Salford, said: “We are currently exploring lots of innovative methods of heating homes, such as infrared heating or skirting board heating. However, homeowners and renters can also save money by doing simple things, such as drawing lined curtains early on a winter evening to keep the heat in.”
Consumers make energy efficiency top priority
The rising cost of energy is also making consumers more aware of the cost of running appliances. Almost 90% of consumers said that they are more conscious of the energy efficiency of electronic appliances, such as dishwashers, tumble-dryers and kettles.
The survey also identified a shift in buying trends, as 56 per cent of consumers revealed they are now more likely to consider buying a new build property to help save money on energy bills.
A report by the Home Buyers’ Federation (HBF) showed that consumers living in new build houses could save on average £3,100 a year on their energy bills, compared to a similar Victorian home. Around 84% of new builds have an energy efficiency rating of A or B, compared to just 4% of existing housing in the UK.
Nicki Reid, sales director for Barratt David Wilson Homes Exeter, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is continuing to affect people across the country. It’s worrying to hear of people living in the cold and dark to save money on bills. This survey confirms that the need for affordable, energy-efficient housing is at a high, with more people likely to consider buying a new build property to help save money on bills.”
To create the most energy efficient homes for the future, Barratt has built the eHome2 within the £16 million Energy House 2.0, the world’s largest climate-controlled chamber at the University of Salford. The learnings from eHome2 will enable all housebuilders to build homes that use fewer resources and cost consumers less.
Barratt David Wilson Homes is building new communities across Devon and Cornwall. For information visit www.barratthomes.co.uk or www.dwh.co.uk
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