Green shoots for a more sustainable future: What action on housing is needed in 2024?

December 2023

Market Knowledge

The environment has been back at the top of the news agenda with the recent COP28 conference in Abu Dhabi. Reaching net zero by 2050 is a priority if we are to get a grip on preventing climate change, and as a B Corp organisation that is committed to ‘going green’, we welcome the government’s latest announcement at the conference of a £1.6bn fund for climate projects1.


But there is one area where we need to see more action to put us on the path to net zero – housing. Britain’s housing stock is responsible for 21% of the country’s carbon emissions2, and change is clearly needed to bring the country’s property up to a new energy efficiency standard.

Moving into 2024, these are the steps we’d like to see to push the housing sector in the direction of a greener future next year.

A clear roadmap for change

The government’s decision to ‘postpone’ new EPC requirements on rental properties will have brought a sense of relief to some landlords. For others, it will be a cause for frustration – our recent report into green housing, Beyond the Bricks: what does the green housing market really look like?, shows that landlords have already spent an average of £9,419 making energy efficiency improvements3.


However, postponing the proposals does give landlords and homeowners an opportunity to take a more measured approach to upgrading energy efficiency. Lenders and brokers must continue to ensure consumers get the information and support they need to make the right decisions about upgrading their properties.


Now is not the time to be complacent either. As we enter an election year, there is the potential for similar policies to emerge when the two main parties outline their commitments to tackling climate change.


Whatever proposals are put forward, the confusion created when the EPC proposals were first announced in 2021 demonstrates the need for a detailed roadmap from the next government. There must be clear communication to outline the specifics and timings of any ambitious policies to bring Britain’s housing stock to a better standard.

Levelling up green initiatives

Retrofitting existing housing stock will be critical to reducing carbon emissions from property. In 2024, we need to see more support from government that encourages consumers to ‘turn the dial’ on EPC ratings. One way this could be achieved is by using Stamp Duty to incentivise improvements, with a rebate for those who improve a property’s EPC. A more ambitious step could include a considered review of EPC ratings themselves.


The mortgage market has a role to play too. The past year has seen a growing number of lenders introduce green mortgages and incentive schemes, but at Coventry we think there is more that can be done. We must continue growing the green mortgage market and expand the choice of products for customers. This is something we will be focused on in 2024, to play our part in creating a more sustainable market.

Ensuring new buyers get the advice they seek

Nearly all (91%) of the homeowners surveyed in our Green Housing research thought sustainability and energy efficiency are important4. This shows there is a significant opportunity for brokers to enhance their support around green initiatives next year.


Brokers are at the forefront of the homebuying journey, and they must consider guiding borrowers towards green solutions and offering guidance on the steps they can take to improve a property’s energy efficiency. This is particularly important with younger buyers – our research found that 98% of homeowners aged 18-34 would make green changes to their properties if they had the option to5. Brokers and lenders will need to work together to support these customers, and that’s exactly why Coventry for intermediaries launched the Home Energy Efficiency tool earlier this year. This quickly creates an energy saving plan that brokers can use in client meetings, helping consumers to capitalise on the long-term financial advantages of creating a greener home.


As data reveals that 2023 is the hottest year on record, there is a growing need for us all to do our part to tackle climate change6. Housing is a leading emitter of carbon and has a central role to play in net zero. Next year, we must all work together – government, lenders, brokers, and consumers, to drive real action towards a greener housing sector that’s kinder to our planet.


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