Kingfisher: Energy cost 'biggest household fear' in Europe

Low-energy light bulb

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Homeowners in Europe are more worried about energy bills than paying the rent or mortgage, a survey suggests.

The finding comes as part of research by Europe's largest DIY retail group, Kingfisher.

Kingfisher, which operates as B&Q in the UK, surveyed 17,000 households in nine European countries.

"There is a staggering increase in the number of people who intend to prioritise energy efficiency," said Kingfisher boss Sir Ian Cheshire.

"It is soaring bills that is driving this agenda."

The survey of attitudes to home improvement is a snapshot of how Europeans view their home. And it seems we're not that different from our continental neighbours.

  • More than three quarters (77%) of Europeans surveyed said their homes needed adapting to meet changing family needs
  • some 22% said they needed to create more space
  • and 46% of people have, or would like, a home office.

But the biggest priority in the home is improving energy efficiency. Almost a third (31%) said they intended to introduce measures to cut their energy bills.

That compares with just 4%, in their last survey in 2012.

'Flexible space'

Spending on homes, it seems, is back on the agenda.

"As lifestyles change and living costs rise, people want more and more from their home," said Sir Ian.

"The modern home increasingly needs to be a flexible, adaptable space that is able to evolve as our lives change.

"These days, our homes need to be an office, an entertainment hub and a multi-generational living space."

He also reckoned that people were now thinking a bit more confidently about the value of their homes, one of the drivers behind the desire to adapt.

According to the survey, the features most people want are:

  • swimming pools (28%)
  • fireplaces (26%)
  • conservatories (23%)
  • hot tubs (22%)

In the UK, people reportedly desire en-suite bathrooms more than in any other European country.

We are more likely to buy DIY products online than any other nation and we are the second most likely country to have a garden shed.

But we're still not as good at DIY as we might think. The UK comes joint fifth in the Kingfisher's DIY league table, with Germany and France at the top.

That said, nearly a quarter of all those asked said they couldn't change a light bulb.

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