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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

‘Neighbourly nudges’ Ignite the Leap Towards Green Residential Energy Revolution

The inclination towards sustainable home choices is ascending, fuelled by a collective pride in renewable resources, though hindered by a gap in understanding and governmental advocacy for wider acceptance.

The influence of a neighbour’s choices has transcended the realms of new car desires or the pet adoption surge seen during the pandemic, now significantly impacting home improvements and the adoption of eco-conscious lifestyles. This shift is highlighted in the fresh consumer insights released today by Solar Together, focusing on the ripple effects of neighbourly behaviours and discussions on renewable energy perspectives.

The findings indicate that a considerable number of Brits, more than one-third, are significantly swayed by their neighbours towards greener practices, with nearly 40% inclined towards home enhancements upon witnessing a neighbour’s renovations or installations. Over a quarter of respondents are drawn to or would prefer living in neighbourhoods that are eco-minded, with visible renewable energy solutions such as solar panels.

However, the report also sheds light on a quieter faction, with 28% of Britons not interacting with their neighbours. Of those who do, nearly 10% report an increase in environmental discussions compared to five years prior, and 20% would consider seeking renewable energy advice for their homes from their neighbours. The topic of living costs has surged in neighbourly conversations, engaging over 40% of the population, often discussed across garden fences.

Adam Parvez, Behavioural Science Specialist at iChoosr, which orchestrates the Solar Together group purchasing programmes, states, “Our new research shows the power of social influence and community dynamics in fostering sustainable behaviours. Individuals look to their peers for cues on how to act, especially in areas where they may feel uncertain or seek validation.

“The findings build on previous research that found one of the biggest predictors of getting solar panels was if your neighbour also had them – and, in particular, if existing installations are highly visible. Understanding and harnessing these behavioural drivers will not only drive adoption of renewable energy – facilitating a shift towards more sustainable living – but also build stronger, more environmentally conscious communities in the process.”

Despite 44% favouring the idea of self-reliance, the complexity and financial uncertainties linked to renewable energy installations are significant barriers. The upcoming General Election further complicates understanding, with a vast majority unclear about the government’s environmental stances and a third oblivious to the UK Energy Secretary’s identity.

George Frost, UK Country Manager at iChoosr, comments, “The rising cost-of-living and shakeup in the energy market over the past couple of years have shifted perceptions and attitudes – and as a result rising numbers of homeowners are looking for renewable energy sources to cut costs and be more eco-conscious. And, as we can see, more of us are now leaning over the garden fence to ask for neighbourly advice on how to make the switch.”

Interestingly, the survey also revealed that the sight of neighbours engaging in fitness activities could inspire nearly a quarter of the respondents to follow suit. In contrast, the decisions to acquire pets or new cars are less influenced by neighbours, at 15% and 7%, respectively. Cosmetic enhancements and decisions about family expansion are least affected by neighbourly influences, at 1% and 5%.

iChoosr’s collaboration with municipalities to implement the highly successful Solar Together programme has led to over 30,000 solar panel installations across the UK, projected to eliminate 630,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over the ensuing 25 years.

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