Access to affordable finance has long been the main hurdle for European consumers considering an energy efficiency make-over for their home. However, a new study published by E.ON, a leading green utility company shows that ‘energy efficient mortgages’ could be just the answer many are looking for.
The study is part of the EU funded ‘Energy Efficient Mortgages’ initiative (EeMAP) aimed at establishing a new energy efficient mortgage product for banks and borrowers, which the World Green Building Council Europe and its partner E.ON are playing leading roles in. The ‘EeMAP’ initiative aims to encourage banks to grant better mortgage rates or extra borrowing power for those willing to invest in more energy efficient properties, helping move Europe closer to its climate goals.
But with many past energy efficiency schemes experiencing low take-up, will European consumers go for energy efficiency mortgages if banks offer them? This is the question the E.ON study has investigated, as the EeMAP initiative released initial designs for a pilot scheme this week that will launch with a group of major banks this summer.
After extensive interviews presenting the energy efficiency mortgage concept to consumer groups in Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK, key findings from the study include:
- The concept received a very positive reception in Italy, Sweden and the UK, although its appeal was limited in Germany where a similar state energy efficiency scheme already exists.
- Appeal to consumers was highest in Italy (80% very/quite appealing), followed by the UK (66% very/quite appealing). Italy and the UK were therefore recommended as among the most promising European countries for the pilot scheme.
- Consumers like the option of a home energy efficiency renovation fully managed by a third party, but equally want to be able to pursue a more bespoke ‘do-it-yourself’ approach.
- The key consumer appeals of the product range from its ability to support better financial management, to better energy management as well as better property value management.
- Free energy surveys as part of energy efficiency mortgages would enhance their appeal.
Marco Marijewycz, Market Manager at E.ON Solutions, said: “Our study shows that customers see the benefits of an energy efficiency mortgage as delivering a triple win: lower energy bills, lower mortgage rates and a warm, more comfortable home. This product could also open up new innovative partnerships between lenders and utilities.”
James Drinkwater, Director of WorldGBC’s Europe Regional Network, said: “This new research will help ensure energy efficiency mortgages are designed around the needs and wants of consumers from day one. We’re excited to be working with our partner E.ON to bring this scheme to consumers across Europe.”
To read the Energy Efficient Mortgages – Consumer Research Insights Study, click here
To submit your input on the design of the energy efficiency mortgage pilot scheme, join us for a high level event in Dublin on 1st March, or contact Marion@igbc.ie.