Sustainability takes a back seat amid the cost-of-living crisis

December 8, 2022

In February 2022, a study of 2000 UK homeowners showed that although they cared about sustainable windows and doors, it wasn’t enough to pay more. Nine months on in, the midst of an energy fuel crisis and imminent recession, the Double Glazing Blogger requested that VEKA repeated the OnePoll research to see if opinions had changed. The results show that price continues to supersede sustainability when it comes to homeowner decisions on home improvements.

Whilst 75% of respondents still consider sustainable windows and doors to be important, only 26% of homeowners are willing to pay more for recycled products – which is a 5% drop since February.  This worrying insight could have an adverse effect on sustainability efforts to date, and we need to take action to ensure that more homeowners are choosing sustainable windows and doors.

Speaking at the Cop27 summit, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres warned that the world is “on the highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator”. He continued, “Today’s crises cannot be an excuse for backsliding or greenwashing.” The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supports this view, which means that all UK businesses have a responsibility to get to net zero by 2050 – it is not something that we can ignore.

Interestingly, in terms of the product, installation process and/or removal of old products, more conversations are taking place between homeowners and installers. Back in February just 20% of those that had new windows and doors fitted discussed sustainability, whilst in October, this increased to 37%. 76% of respondents said that sustainability is important when it comes to their homes in general, and 49% of those people are concerned about the impact on the environment.

Once again, the research showed that when it comes to decision making, price, quality, and looks, were all considered to be of higher importance than a product’s environmental credentials

VEKA Commercial Director, Tim Taylor said, “The results are not surprising to me, I totally agree and strongly believe that systems houses have a huge part to play when it comes to sustainability. It has always been a priority for VEKA to support our Fabricators and Installers getting these messages across to homeowners, which is why each year we publish a UK specific CSR report.”

Our research once again shows that homeowners believe that sustainability should be a given, which is why they are reluctant to pay a premium for the privilege.  At VEKA we don’t believe in eco-ranges, we believe that every product we produce should be manufactured in as sustainable and ethical a manner as possible.

This ongoing commitment and partnership with sister company and Europe’s most advanced Recycling Centre, VEKA Recycling means that in September 2022, VEKA included the highest percentage of recycled content ever recorded – 33%. The average for 2021 was 19%, with the year-to-date average for 2022 raising substantially to 29%.

Closing the loop on PVCu recycling is now necessary to build on this success. We need our installers to support us by ensuring that old windows and doors are returned to UK based recycling companies, so that they can be recycled, reprocessed, and returned to the UK market, protecting their supply, and strengthening their own sustainability story.

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