UIPI survey reveals European property owners’ capacity and willingness to renovate

Discover the results of the survey “Property owners’ capacity and readiness to renovate” that obtained a representative sample at European level and provides important insights on how to create adapted policies and energy efficiency solutions to boost the Renovation Wave.

The International Union of Property Owners (UIPI) conducted an online survey to assess European property owners’ capacity and willingness to renovate their homes, within the scope of action of EU- funded project TripleA-Reno. The goal was to assess whether property owners in Europe were considering/planning renovations before COVID-19 – and if so, what were they planning and why; and if not, why not – and the impact of Covid-19 on these renovation plans. The analysis of the collected data from over 10,000 respondents in 36 European countries allows to shed light on the real situation of property owners and guide future policy recommendations aiming to enable the Renovation Wave and meet EU climate goals.

European property owners showed a strong willingness to renovate in this survey: 77% of respondents think it is beneficial to make their properties more energy-efficient and sustainable, and more than half of them see both economic and environmental benefits in doing so. Also, 6 out of 10 respondents think their property needs renovation works, but despite this determination, property owners find many barriers to take action. The economic barrier is the most referred reason holding back renovations: 31% of respondents who decided not to renovate are willing to do so but they do not have the necessary funds.

The Covid-19 crisis and the insecurity that it brought along have impacted families’ and businesses’ expectations, objectives and plans in all assessed aspects. 28% of respondents stressed that it indeed affected their renovation plans, they mainly decided to postpone these plans, others downsized them, abandoned the idea and reduced their budget. Although some of them indicated that the pandemic affected the renovation plans in a rather positive way when considering the need for a Renovation Wave since 7% of respondents anticipated their plans, 4% expanded them and 4% increased their budget. 

The budget that property owners are willing to invest in renovation per property is precisely one of the aspects most negatively affected by the health and consequential economic crisis. 30% of respondents planned to spend more than 20,000€ in their renovations before Covid-19, what evolved to 36% of respondents planning to spend less than 5,000€ in their renovations after the pandemic. Despite this, the coronavirus is not the most significant burden nor a catalyst of sustainable renovation, but more a delaying factor, both for renovations and awareness-raising regarding its urgency and benefits.

UIPI survey confirms the relevance of the Drive 0 business models and online platform currently under development to help property owners get accessible information about DIY circular solutions.

Regarding the type of interventions, replacing windows (41.32%), renovating isolation (37.99%) and replacing thermal installations (33.46%) appeared to be the most popular interventions planned by the respondents. However, as can be seen on the right in Figure 1, installing pre-fabricated modular solutions was the intervention less preferred by respondents, with only 1,22% of them planning to convey it.

These results confirm what many of those involved in Drive 0 demo cases have been reporting: there is a profound lack of knowledge on circularity, on how to apply its principles in our lives and of accessible solutions. The survey does not tell us why installing prefabricated modular solutions was the least planned intervention, but it clearly shows that there is an unmet need to bring the principles of circularity closer to people and guide them through the process of transforming their way of living. If we are truly committed to significantly reduce our carbon print, circularity needs to be in our future, as without circularity we will continue to waste resources.

To bring circular notions and solutions closer to all, especially in times when organising awareness-raising events can hardly be presential, Drive 0 consortium proposes to create an open online platform that will inform – to all those interested – in an understandable and inclusive fashion, what is it to be circular? how can we be circular? and Do-It-Yourself tips. This platform will hopefully contribute to behavioural change and a more sustainable future. We will keep you posted on its developments.

If you want to find out more about UIPI Survey’s outcomes, you can read the complete report here.