Stone wool manufacturer ROCKWOOL and economic consultancy Cambridge Econometrics released a report Thursday that details how countries can green their buildings, with survey data suggesting broad public support for the effort. The polling, conducted by Market research company OnePoll, asked 14,000 people in seven countries (the United States, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom) about their attitudes toward sustainable building renovation. According to the results, nearly one in eight respondents would renovate their home and nearly three quarters believe energy efficiency improvements should be made mandatory. An important qualifier is that participants’ answers are based on the assumption that financial support and resources would be available to help them through the process. People seem to assign value to energy efficiency: 79% of respondents cited it as an important factor when buying property and 81% believe it is important that buildings in general (including homes, offices, schools and hospitals) are energy efficient.
Barriers to adoption include cost and lack of information. More than half (51%) of respondents agreed that the expense deters them and 83% welcomed either grants or tax rebates as a financial incentive. 89% of respondents did not feel “knowledgeable about how to apply for funding, seek advice on what to do, and find qualified contractors.”
Of all countries, the U.S. is the most in support of energy-related renovations, with 85% of respondents “very” or “somewhat” likely to retrofit their home if the right incentives were in place. Americans spend approximately $100 billion each year on wasted energy from buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The report, entitled Unlocking the Benefits of Building Renovation, also provides policy recommendations to encourage green building renovations, including:
- Developing long-term renovation programs that manufacturers need to plan production capacity and properly train more installers.
- Teaming up with banks to combine public grants and low-interest loans as funding mechanisms.
- Making it easier for households to apply for subsidies and find qualified workers.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Associate Director at Cambridge Econometrics Jon Stenning stated,
“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.”
“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.
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