Research inspires IPPR report

By 2028 the UK will need to reach a peak of installing nearly two million energy efficiency measures like loft and wall insulation and over 600,000 heat pumps. However, despite the urgent need for a massive scale up in retrofitting, policy design at the moment is not up to the task.

A UKERC (UK Energy Research Centre) funded project compiled by Dr Iain Cairns and Professor Matthew Hannon, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, and colleagues at Leeds and Sussex, has been the inspiration for a report from IPPR on energy retrofit.

The research finds that when policymakers design support for home retrofitting they typically think about the idea of a ‘customer journey’ but assume a person will only embark on this journey and engage with a government scheme if it makes sound financial sense. However, while costs are certainly a factor, ‘social relations’ – who you know, who you know well, which communities you belong to, when and where you interact with them, where you live and what your background is – play a major role in influencing people’s decisions to renovate or retrofit their home.

Developing a greater understanding of the social relations influencing household decisions at each stage in the customer journey could help policymakers determine the right life moments and trigger points to introduce policy support, and to design them in a way that harmonises with households’ existing social networks and backgrounds, not based on the idea of the purely rational economic man.

The research offers an explanation for why retrofitting policies are failing to stimulate the market and attract more interest and lays out some of the implications for policymaking.

The full report can be found here:

Published: 29 September 2023

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