In a concerning trend, millions of working hours are projected to be lost to the cold in the North West this winter, as homeowners make the difficult decision to forgo heating in a bid to save on energy bills.
Despite the acknowledgment by almost two-thirds (64%) of the region’s population that a chilly home adversely affects productivity and concentration levels, a staggering three-quarters (77%) are set to either keep their heating switched off entirely or at a minimal setting throughout the upcoming months.
The latest findings, unveiled by national builders’ merchant Jewson, shed light on the significant physical and mental toll experienced by more than half (60%) of North West residents living in cold homes.
Despite the well-documented impact on well-being, the survey indicates a pervasive willingness to endure such conditions for the sake of financial savings.
Worryingly, the data suggests that the problem is unlikely to abate, with over two-thirds (71%) of respondents expressing the belief that keeping their homes warm during winter will become an even more significant challenge in the next five years.
The decision to sacrifice comfort for financial prudence raises concerns about the potential consequences on both individual health and overall productivity in the North West region. As the winter months approach, residents find themselves grappling with the dilemma of balancing the immediate financial burden of heating against the long-term well-being effects of enduring colder indoor environments.
The survey highlights a pressing need for increased awareness and potential interventions to address the conflict between rising energy costs and the imperative to maintain a warm and conducive home environment. The implications of this trend extend beyond individual households, posing broader challenges for public health and regional productivity in the face of winter’s chill.
Jewson has shared the findings to coincide with its brand new Making Better Homes Awards, which recognises those in the industry who are working hard to create energy efficient, safe, and comfortable homes.
The merchant invited tradespeople, builders and installers from the North West who are improving the nation’s housing stock – whether through retrofit projects or building new homes – to enter one of the three categories available.
Matt Handley, category innovation manager at Jewson, said: “We rely on the warmth of our homes to stay physically and mentally healthy, but to also carry out the day-to-day tasks expected of us in our professional and personal lives. More so than that, having your house too cold for too long puts the property at risk of long-term damage and structural issues. So, it’s worrying to see that so many people are feeling forced to turning their heating down, or off entirely, to save money on their energy bills. Taking this decision can lead to more serious consequences down the line for ourselves, and our homes.
“At Jewson, we’re on a mission to ensure people don’t have to make those types of choices. We’re working closely with tradespeople, installers and builders to help them create homes that are both energy efficient and comfortable all year round – whether that’s in cold winters or hot summers. This is achieved by investing into a balance of insulation and ventilation. When both are installed to a high standard and in line with building regulations, they can help homeowners save money on their energy bills and other home improvements in the long run.”