How to incentivise tenants on energy efficiency

Dr Joel Rogers de WaalAcademic Director, YouGov
September 03, 2013, 9:21 AM GMT+0

The Cambridge Retrofit Programme is a landmark community-scale energy efficiency initiative to retrofit buildings and help make the Cambridge area the first to reach national carbon reduction targets.

The programme is being supported by YouGov to bring academic rigour to the task of understanding attitudes of stakeholders in complex debates such as retrofits. Check back periodically for the latest results on attitudes towards retrofits and related topics such as finance incentives and government policy.

Tenant Survey:

Their first major survey on behalf of Cambridge Retrofit, was completed in April 2013, focusing on the attitudes of 1543 tenants to factors involved in retrofits. Our aim was to understand what the level of demand for retrofits might be amongst tenants and the incentives that might increase demand.

Some of the more important results are summarised below:

1. Proportion of those by region of those listing location (blue) and energy efficiency (red) as important in their choice of residence. Notice the need for significant improvements in incentives for tenants to seek higher energy efficiency.

2. Proportion of those by political affiliation who said energy efficiency was a significant factor in their choice of residence. Notice that there are marginal differences between affiliations, with Scottish and Welsh party affiliates slightly higher in their consideration of energy efficiency.

3. How much of a threat or benefit do you think rental prices, energy costs, inflation and unemployment will be to your household standard of living in the coming year? (A score of 1 means a strong benefit and a score of 10 means a strong threat). The figure below shows the average response to this question across all respondents. Notice that tenants feel energy costs are slightly more of a threat than the other three factors.

The conclusion?

Making a case through a language of reduced energy costs rather than improved energy efficiency could be a more effective way to reach tenants (even though the two are logically related).