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Research highlights comfort gains from eco refurbishment

Many interesting findings have emerged from the SuperHomes Research Report 2014. The report brings together feedback from Visitors to SuperHomes, website visitors, enquirers and SuperHome owners. One of the more striking findings is that 95% of SuperHome owners rate the comfort of their homes as Good or Excellent after retrofit, compared with just 8% before retrofit. This suggests that the type of whole house refurbishment that produces a 60% plus carbon saving will usually deliver massively improved comfort levels as well: a win-win situation.

Graphic for 95% of SuperHomers rate comfort of their homes as Good or Excellent after retrofit vs just 8% before retrofit

Patron of SuperHomes, John Doggart, commented “The results are helping to demonstrate the positive impact of our work and eco refurbishment in general.”

Another finding confirms that solid wall insulation is high up the list of measures that can deliver dramatically enhanced comfort in older homes. SuperHome owners say that they are ‘very happy’ or ‘happy with their internal wall insulation regarding its impact on their home’s warmth (96%), the length of time the house stays warm (92%) and the speed at which the house reaches temperature (85%).

Lower bills, deep carbon savings and dramatically improved comfort do come at a price. Only 20% of SuperHomers invested under £20,000 in improving their homes, about the same as many kitchen or bathroom upgrades, and 25% spent over £50,000.

The time spent to achieve such improvements also varied greatly between SuperHome owners. 65% of SuperHome refurbishments took place over more than 2 years as a series of planned projects or gradually over time with no masterplan.

The research also quizzed visitors to SuperHomes. From a set of 9 criteria visitors rate SuperHomes as Excellent or Very Good most often for ‘Usefulness of Tours’ and ‘Opportunity for Q&As’. From 10 options, the 3 most frequently selected reasons for wanting to visit a SuperHome were “To learn what works and what doesn’t” (79%), “To see technology in action” (68%) and “To learn about the installation process” (52%).

Most visitors intend to take action. 3 in 5 visitors to SuperHomes say it is very likely they will improve the energy efficiency of their home. And they plan to spend on average £5,770 on energy saving measures over the next 12 months. A survey of past visitors indicates that 41% of visitors who responded went on to install energy saving measures within 24 months of their visit and 1 in 5 went on to invest significant amounts (between £3000 – £35,000) on them.

The report also tells us more about visitors to SuperHomes. For example, 55% of visitors are aged 55 years and over. All but 2% of visitors are over 35 years old.

The findings from these and other surveys were collated by Open University PhD student Felicity Williams as part of a three month internship with the National Energy Foundation in Summer 2014. Felicity’s internship was supported by the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme.

As part of producing the report, Felicity collated fresh research from Summer 2014 alongside existing research to give a fuller picture of the impact of the SuperHomes project.

Online bookers and SuperHome owners were invited to participate in the research. Respondents were otherwise self-selecting.

Organisations sponsoring and financially supporting SuperHomes will be able to access the full report. Further findings will be shared with researchers and other partners on a case by case basis according to need.

For more information please visit the research highlights here or see the full release below.

Notes for Editors:
Full media release here with Notes

Web graphics to download [1] [2] [3]