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Sustainable Renovations: This Year’s Biggest Eco Trends In Home Improvement and Interior Design

At Rated People, we care about how home improvements are done, so we’re really happy to see that sustainability is becoming even more of a consideration among homeowners and tradespeople this year.

For insights on the biggest trends in renovation and home improvement, take a look at the Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report 2023

The 2023 edition of our Home Improvement Trends Report shows almost half of UK homeowners want to make their homes more environmentally friendly in 2023, and more than three quarters of UK tradespeople will be making changes to their businesses to improve their green credentials. Eco home improvements are now being recognised as a way to save money on bills, as well as be kinder to the planet – a win-win.

If you’re a homeowner – read on for tips and advice on how to make your home or your renovation project more eco friendly, and if you’re interested in making your home more energy efficient, there’s over 50,000 expert local tradespeople here on Rated People who can help – from heating engineers to thermal insulation specialists and builders.

If you’re a tradesperson – keep reading to find out which trades are the most committed to sustainability, as well as how tradespeople are going greener this year and which eco home improvements are seeing the biggest increase in homeowner demand.

How To Update Your Home In A Sustainable Way and Save Money

More and more homeowners are choosing to ‘part update’ a room, instead of carrying out a full refurbishment. A great example of this is replacing kitchen cupboard doors (or simply painting your existing doors) instead of ripping out the entire kitchen and installing a brand new one. Not only does this considerably reduce the cost, it’s also a brilliant way to reduce waste.

Part update projects can make it look like you’ve completely redesigned and updated the space, but for a fraction of the cost of a full refurbishment. In fact, homeowners can expect to save an average of £6,070 this year by opting for ‘part update’ projects, which means this style of renovation is great for your pocket as well as the planet.  

Keen to try it? Here are 15 ways to redesign your home without doing a full refurbishment.

1. Just upgrade bathroom hardware, for example installing black taps, a black shower and a black radiator, instead of a complete bathroom refurbishment

2. Paint kitchen cupboard doors and trim instead of complete kitchen refurbishment 

3. Paint wooden windows/ doors instead of replacing them

4. Replace kitchen cupboard doors to get a completely new look instead of complete kitchen refurbishment

5. Retile the bathroom instead of complete bathroom refurbishment

6. Paint the staircase instead of installing a new one

7. Replace kitchen worktops instead of complete kitchen refurbishment

8. Replace the bathroom suite instead of complete refurbishment

9. Retile the kitchen instead of a complete refurbishment

10. Paint uPVC windows/ doors instead of getting new windows

11. Paint bathroom tiles instead of replacing them

12. Fit new doors to storage cupboards or fitted wardrobe doors, instead of getting new storage

13. Paint kitchen tiles instead of replacing them

14. Sand floorboards instead of fitting a brand-new floor

15. Cover or wrap the existing kitchen worktop instead of getting a new one

How To Renovate More Sustainably

If you’ve bought somewhere that hasn’t been touched since the 70s, and there’s no choice but to rip everything out and start again, there are still tonnes of ways you can reduce waste and renovate in a more sustainable way.

In 2022, one in three homeowners who did home improvements found environmentally friendly ways to improve and adapt their homes. In 2023, this increases considerably, to almost half of homeowners actively finding ways to reduce the impact of their renovation projects on the planet.

If you’re embarking on an exciting renovation, here are eight ways to reduce waste and increase the sustainability of your project – many of which can also help to reduce cost too.

1. Recycle waste instead of taking everything to the tip

2. Sell or donate old fittings, materials and appliances to reduce waste

3. Source second-hand materials, appliances and fittings

4. Reuse any existing materials you can, for example bricks

5. Buy more quality and timeless fixtures and fittings so they’ll last longer and won’t need to be replaced as often

6. Use eco-friendly materials, for example eco paint

7. Use natural and renewable materials, for example bamboo

8. Rent tools rather than buying them

How To Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

With the cost of energy still higher than ever, more homeowners are installing eco home improvements, like solar panels and insulation, to reduce the cost of their energy bills.

We spoke to homeowners across the UK who are planning eco adaptations for their home this year, and ‘saving money on bills’ was the top reason behind their decision – a huge 50% of homeowners said this was their main motivator for installing eco home improvements.

If you’re keen to improve your home’s energy efficiency, here are the nine most popular energy-saving adaptations that homeowners are planning to install this year to save money on their bills.

1. Draught proofing

2. Solar panels

3. Loft/roof insulation

4. Triple glazing

5. Double glazing

6. Floor insulation

7. Boiler upgrade

8. Wall insulation

9. Wind turbine 

If you’re looking to install solar panels, take a look at our solar panel guide to find out where you can have them installed, how much they cost and how much money they can save you, as well as what grants are currently available to help reduce the cost of installation.

If it’s insulation you’re after, our guide to loft insulation reveals how much it’ll cost, which type of insulation is best and how long it will take to insulate your loft. For more information on how much cavity wall insulation costs as well as tips on how you can get it for free, head over to our cavity wall insulation guide.  

The Most Eco-Focused Trades

We spoke to hundreds of tradespeople across the UK and asked them about their plans for 2023 – more than three quarters said they will be making changes to their business and ways of working to be more environmentally friendly this year.

When it comes to the trades that are the most committed to sustainability, here are the top 12, so if you’re in here, we salute you!

Electricians are leading the charge, with 86% planning eco changes this year. Handypeople are second with 78% making eco upgrades to their businesses. Bathroom fitters (75%) take third, gardeners (71%) are in fourth place and builders (64%) take fifth position. 

The top trades that will make their businesses more environmentally friendly in 2023

1. Electricians86%2. Handypeople78%3. Bathroom fitters75%4. Gardeners/ landscape gardeners71%5. Builders64%6. Plumbers58%7. Painters and decorators58%8. Carpenters/ joiners54%9. Plasterers/ renderers50%10. Roofers48%11. Gas/ heating engineers46%12. Tilers38%

How To Make Your Trades Business More Sustainable This Year

Well over half of UK tradespeople say they’re making eco changes to their businesses because they care about the planet. But interestingly, one in three UK homeowners also say they’d be more likely to choose a tradesperson if they were environmentally friendly, so promoting your sustainability credentials is also a great way to attract more business.

Here are eight ways to go greener this year.

1. Take more local jobs to reduce travel time (fuel)

2. Give more quotes remotely to cut down on driving time (fuel)

3. Improve recycling

4. Reduce waste

5. Use environmentally friendly materials/ products

6. Use British parts where possible/support other local businesses

7. Use second hand parts where possible

8. Get an electric vehicle

The Rise In Homeowner Demand For Eco Home Improvements

This year, almost twice as many homeowners want to have ‘eco home improvements’ installed than in 2022 and this increase in demand provides a valuable opportunity for tradespeople in the UK.

To understand which eco jobs are increasing in popularity the most, we analysed the volume of home improvement jobs posted through the Rated People platform by UK homeowners, and these are the top 10 eco adaptations that are seeing the biggest increase in demand.

At-home electric car charging points have seen the steepest rise, with demand going up by a staggering 2406% in the last two years. In second place are biomass boilers with an increase of 225%. Energy producing solar panels are in third position, with demand rising by 222%. Demand for thermal insulation has gone up by 143% and triple glazing has increased by 125%.

Top eco improvements that have increased in demand

1. At-home electric car charging point+2406%2. Biomass boiler+225%3. Solar panels+222%4. Thermal insulation+143%5. Triple glazing+125%6. External wall insulation+70%7. Living roof+67%8. Double glazing+12%9. uPVC windows and doors+11%10. Water underfloor heating+10%

The Biggest Opportunities in Sustainability For UK Tradespeople

As part of our research, we spoke to homeowners up and down the country who will be having eco improvements installed this year to discover which ones they are planning to have. For tradespeople looking to diversify their skills to capitalise on this increasing focus on sustainability, these are the top 20 most in-demand eco adaptations for 2023.

Four of the top five eco home improvements that homeowners want to install in 2023 are related to reducing energy usage – the top eco improvement planned is a smart meter. In second place is draught proofing, and in third position is installing extra insulation. Elsewhere in the top 20 eco home improvements for 2023 are: solar panels, electric car charging points, heat pumps and underfloor heating.

Top 20 eco home improvements homeowners are planning to install in 2023

Smart meterDraught proofingExtra insulationCompost pileUpgrade old appliances to more energy efficient onesDouble glazingPaint with low VOC paintSmart lightingSmart thermostatLow flow toiletSolar panelsBiodiverse gardenTriple glazingElectric car charging pointUnderfloor heatingHeat pumpWind turbineGreen roofSolar water heatingBiomass boiler

For more insights about home improvements, renovations and opportunities for tradespeople, download the full 2023 report here.

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