Report reveals the UK’s most eco-focused trades

New research from Rated People has revealed which trades are the most committed to sustainability, how tradespeople are going greener this year, and which eco home improvements are seeing the biggest increase in homeowner demand.

The research is part of the newly launched 2023 edition of the Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report, where Rated People analysed around 1.1 million home improvement jobs posted through its platform by UK homeowners, and spoke to thousands of tradespeople and homeowners across the UK.

The UK’s most eco-focused trades

Homeowner demand for eco home improvements has increased considerably over the past two years as people try to live more sustainably and find ways to reduce the cost of their energy bills.

Not only are they looking for ways to be greener around the home themselves, but one in three (34%) UK homeowners also say they’d be more likely to choose a tradesperson if they were environmentally friendly, so it’s more important than ever for tradespeople to improve their green credentials.

This year, Rated People’s research shows electricians as the most committed to sustainability, with almost nine in 10 (86%) making changes to their businesses to make them more environmentally friendly. Handypeople are second, with 78% making eco changes. Bathroom fitters (75%) take third, gardeners (71%) are in fourth place and builders (64%) take fifth position.

How tradespeople are going greener this year

More than three-quarters (78%) of UK tradespeople say they will be making changes to their business and ways of working to be more environmentally friendly this year. Well over half (59%) say it’s because they care about the planet, and 42% think homeowners want businesses to be more eco-focused.

In 2023, more than half of UK tradespeople (52%) say they’ll take on more local jobs to cut down travel time and use less fuel, and four in 10 (41%) will start giving quotes remotely to reduce the amount of time they spend on the road. Tradespeople will also be improving their recycling methods, using second-hand parts where possible and will start driving electric vehicles to make their businesses more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The rise in demand for eco home improvements

Almost twice as many homeowners want to have ‘eco home improvements’ installed this year than in 2022. Last year, one in four (25%) homeowners made their homes more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, while in 2023, this has increased considerably to almost one in two (45%) – and this increase in demand presents a sizeable opportunity for tradespeople in the UK.

When looking at the volume of home improvement jobs posted through Rated People by UK homeowners over the past two years, the trades platform can reveal the top eco adaptations that are seeing the biggest increase in homeowner demand.

At-home electric car charging points have seen the steepest rise, with demand going up by 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%.

The biggest opportunities in sustainability

As part of the research, Rated People spoke to homeowners who will be having eco improvements installed this year to discover which ones they are planning to have.

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. Other popular eco home improvements for 2023 include: solar panels, electric car charging points, heat pumps and underfloor heating.

Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People, comments, “It’s great to see that sustainability is becoming even more of a consideration among tradespeople and homeowners.

“Even though April’s energy price cap wasn’t increased, the price of energy is still higher than ever, so it’s no surprise that many homeowners are looking to eco home improvements to help them reduce the cost of their energy bills.

“For UK tradespeople, this increasing demand opens up a huge opportunity both in how they run their businesses and the services they provide, and we expect it will continue to grow. Although there are several schemes available to homeowners to reduce the cost of installing green home improvements, if more could be done, UK tradespeople would be able to help even more people to create better, more sustainable homes for the future.”

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