Brokers call for Government support to help households improve their energy efficiency


  • Only two in five (42%) homeowners(1) say they know what their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is, suggesting an education gap on energy efficiency. 
  • Yet only 6% of UK mortgage brokers(2) say clients regularly ask about energy efficiency and over half (58%) admit to it never being mentioned. 
  • However, brokers report they are well prepared to assist, with nearly two thirds (61%) feeling comfortable with the current green agenda and what’s coming in the next few years. 
  • Brokers want to see the Government increase grants for households that cannot afford to make improvements, alongside tax incentives to encourage more homeowners to make changes.

Santander’s Buying into the Green Homes Revolution (12.43 MB) report has found mortgage brokers have a significant part to play in overcoming the challenges of retrofitting the UK’s housing stock. 

The homeowner knowledge gap 
The research, which asked 2,000 homeowners their views and knowledge of retrofitting, found that there is a lack of understanding among homeowners of what EPC ratings are, and over half (53%) say they could not afford the average £10,000 needed to retrofit their home.(3)  This has led to inaction that makes the Government’s aspirational target of getting the UK’s housing stock to an EPC rating of C or above by 2035 more challenging. 

This lack of education means only 6% of brokers report that they are regularly asked about energy efficiency by clients and over half (58%) claim that it is never being mentioned.  Furthermore, of those that do get advice, only one in five (20%) brokers think the customer is truly taking it on board.   

Brokers are vital going forward
However, change is coming, as homeowner awareness and engagement is growing with nearly three quarters (70%) saying in the past twelve months they have become more alert to the importance of energy efficiency, due to rising costs of living and the Ukraine conflict. 

This is where mortgage brokers are primed to help; 99% of mortgage brokers know what EPC stands for, compared to only 42% of homeowners, illustrating brokers are more informed on energy efficiency and better able to guide and educate homeowners through their retrofitting journeys.  Furthermore, almost two thirds (61%) of brokers say they are clued up on current green products and future regulatory changes. 

Graham Sellar, Head of Business Development – Mortgages at Santander commented: “With 21% of the UK’s CO2 emissions coming from housing,(5), the Government and the housing industry need to work together on the crucial challenge of retrofitting our homes, if the UK is to achieve its net zero gas emissions target by 2050. Brokers will play an important role in the industry’s ability to rise to this challenge: from educating homeowners on the benefits of improved energy efficiency, to supporting them with funding their home’s retrofitting journey. 

“As the costs of living pressures continue to hit many homeowners, a high energy efficient property can bring savings of up to 52% on energy costs a year(4), so ensuring those looking to buy or remortgage understand EPC ratings and how they can improve their energy efficiency can potentially provide real cost savings to homeowners.”

Brokers’ recommendations 
The research showed three quarters (77%) of brokers are highly supportive of an increase in grants for households that cannot afford to make necessary improvements.  In addition, seven in ten (70%) brokers pointed to tax incentives, such as a stamp duty discount on energy efficiency homes, which may act as a useful driver of activity.  Brokers are also keen that the Government provides more education to the public, with three in five (58%) agreeing this would encourage more action among homeowners.  

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Notes to Editors 

Tips for improving energy efficiency: 
Check your EPC rating – Homeowners in England, Wales and N Ireland can check here and homeowners in Scotland can search here. EPC ratings last ten years and are required when listing a property for sale. 
Get your property assessed – An accredited energy assessor can give recommendations and outline costs for improvements.  A local assessor can be found on the EPC register
Every little helps – Relatively cheap measures can reduce energy bills, for example switching to energy saving lightbulbs, turning electrical items off at the plug or reducing your thermostat by one degree.  
Explore funding for the big changes – Bigger changes, such as replacing windows, may require additional funding. Some lenders will provide this at a cheaper rate - get advice from a financial adviser or mortgage broker. 
Think about what you can do yourself – While fitting a boiler or windows might require an expert, replacing loft insulation might be something you could do yourself for a fraction of the cost. 
Look at schemes in your area – There are replacement boiler schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and funding through Nest Wales and Warmer Homes Scotland. Many local councils also provide assistance to help retrofitting. 
Get more information – Upgrading a home’s EPC rating is a journey and will take time. Each area of the UK has advice services to assist planning out short and long-term changes which can be found online.    
Santander support:  
My Home Manager – Available on the Santander mobile app, this assists Santander customers to manage their homes better, including the ability to check their home’s EPC and improve their energy rating. My Home Manager | Santander UK 
EnergyFact – Is a free home energy report in partnership with Countrywide Surveying Services, providing information and guidance on how to make homes more energy efficient. Get your EnergyFact® report | Santander UK.
Green Additional Loan – A loan up to £25,000 is available to mortgage customers and offers a reduced rate of borrowing for green home improvements.  Green living – green improvements | Santander UK.
Greener Homes Hub – Dedicated pages on the Santander website that provide information on greener, more sustainable living. Visit the page here: Greener living – your home | Santander UK. 

1)    Consumer research among 1,000 UK homeowners looking to purchase in the next five years and 1,000 UK adults looking to buy in the next five years, alongside a survey of 175 UK-based estate agents was carried out by Opinium Research between 25-30 May 2022.   
2)    Broker research was carried out via online survey to 108 UK registered brokers, in May/ June 2022.
3)    Institute for Public Policy Research - Designing a comprehensive retrofit plan for the UK (October 2021)  pump-up-the-volume-oct21.pdf (
4)    Zoopla research, June 2022. New-build buyers driving the green home movement – and saving up to 52% on energy costs - Zoopla
5)    Energy Saving Trust: Energy advice for your home - Energy Saving Trust