The inspirational value of SuperHomes and other green open home initiatives was crystalized this week following a UK Green Building Council report.
Following the publication of a UK Green Building Council report this week, the BBC reported that 25 million UK homes must be insulated to achieve the government’s stated goal of an 80% cut in UK carbon emissions by 2050. Eight out of 10 homes that will be in standing in 2050 have already been built and are old and inefficient. Therefore, inspiring homeowners to take action and refurbish their older homes must be a priority.
Julie Hirigoyen, CEO at the UK Green Building Council, says: "Driving up demand for retro-fitting homes is essential ... We need to make it all easy, attractive and affordable." She adds: "I think the work that SuperHomes does is really important - demonstrating what is possible and bringing retrofit to life."
Initiatives like our SuperHomes project have already demonstrated their ability to attract and encourage homeowners to improve their older homes. The SuperHomes website has attracted over 1 million visits and over 70,000 visitors to open days have been excited by the potential to green their own homes.
John Doggart, Patron of the SuperHomes network, says: “There is a real opportunity to engage with the numbers of people we need to seriously increase the take-up of home refurbishment measures.”
He puts the number of homeowners who must be inspired to take action at around 1 million, or around 5% of private homeowners. In marketing terms, these homeowners will be the ‘early adopters’ responsible for influencing the majority to take action.
There are few difficulties, he says, in the way of further success. “All we need to do is to recruit and assess more exemplars and put these householders’ experience into play online.”
SuperHomes is one of the 26 green open home groups represented by the UK’s Federation of Open Home Networks. Collectively, they are able to call on over 1,300 households who volunteer to open their doors to show the benefits of home energy improvements. Visitors are not only inspired – they also take action. A survey of visitors to SuperHomes found that respondents went on to spend an average of £3,750 on energy-saving improvements.
Andrew Warren, Chairman of the Federation, reinforces the message: “Seeing really can be believing! Open homes help visitors see the improvements that can be made in homes like their own, which help them build up the confidence to take the next steps. Often visitors look to the hosts to provide reassurance on what works."
The UK Green Building Council suggests we need to insulate 1.4 homes every minute to achieve an 80% cut in UK carbon emissions by 2050.
Visit the SuperHomes website for examples of the kind of ‘inspiration to action’ that those involved in the open homes community believe will be vital for this to become a reality. The site promotes events, videos, eco renovation FAQs and Q&As for those embarking on the journey to refurbish an older home.
Building Places that Work for Everyone: Industry insights into key Government priorities. The report issued by the UK Green Building Council - 27 February, 2017
A housing stock fit for the future: Making home energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority.