Where to find the most energy efficient homes in the UK

18 Nov 2020

By Maria Kull, Research and Media Consultant for NimbleFins

With average household energy bills adding up to around £1,300 a year, energy efficiency is not only a question of being ‘green’. It can be an important financial concern for many households. But in which areas around England and Wales are you most likely to find economical homes?

A recent study by NimbleFins analysed the energy efficiency of houses and flats across the country. The study found that regions in the North have the most energy efficient housing. Meanwhile, the South West is lagging behind. However, there were better and worse performing local authorities in each region.

Which saves more energy – a flat or a house?

Since energy efficiency can be an important consideration when choosing a home, let’s look at how flats and houses compare. The study found that, generally, existing flats tend to be more efficient than existing houses. Going into the specifics, the energy efficiency of existing houses is around 8% worse than that of existing flats. As with anything, of course, there are exceptions.

Quite on the contrary, new houses were shown to have better energy efficiency scores than new flats. The area to stand out the most was Hounslow in London. New build Houses in Hounslow had an energy efficiency score of 90. Comparing the score to existing housing, that’s a whopping 40% higher than the average in England and Wales. The most energy-efficient new-build flats can be found in Cambridge, Pembrokeshire, and Camden.

In the overall housing situation, new builds have a small effect. That’s because new builds only add around 0.8% to the housing stock a year. Still, the comparisons are good to keep in mind when looking for an economical home.

Most efficient local areas

Overall, Tower Hamlets in London came out on top in the study. The City of London followed closely behind. An interesting factor to note is that the City of London has an exceptionally high proportion of flats compared to houses. As flats tend to be more energy-efficient, it makes sense for the City of London to score well. An exception was the area of Milton Keynes in the South East. The area ranked third for most energy-efficient housing in England and Wales. Regardless of there being 16% flats and 84% houses in Milton Keynes, the area has managed to maintain energy efficiency.

Local Authorities with the Most Energy Efficient Housing in England & Wales. Image: NimbleFins.

Northern regions coming out on top

Regionally, The North West returned the best record for energy-efficient housing in England and Wales. The median energy efficiency score in the North West was 66.0 across all housing stock. Notably, the North West has many more houses than flats, with 84% houses and 16% flats. A similar proportion of houses and flats was found in the North East, which ranked as the second-best region in the study.

Coming in third place was London. Although the City of London is primarily made up of flats, the entire region of London has almost an equal amount of houses vs flats – 48% vs 52%, respectively.

The region ranking the worst was the South West. The median energy efficiency score in the South West was just 63.1. Still, there were bright spots in the region – namely, Swindon. The local authority achieved a score of 67.9 – good enough to reach 14th place in all of England and Wales.

Regions with the Most Energy Efficient Housing in England & Wales. Image: NimbleFins.

The methodology for finding the efficiency scores in this blog consisted of analysing housing energy efficiency data as well as data on housing stock (i.e., number of houses and flats in each local authority) requested from the Office for National Statistics.

About the author: Maria Kull, is a Research and Media Consultant for NimbleFins. The company specialises in market research and data studies on UK regions, consumers and businesses.