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Downsize your energy bills: Moving to a smaller home cuts energy bills

This report analyses house type, age, under-occupation and energy consumption and compares different downsizing scenarios and energy costs in order to help older generations to appreciate the energy savings they could make from downsizing.

Key findings:

  • Downsizing from larger to smaller homes in England could save 8 million homeowners up to £5,000 a year in lower energy bills.
  • While owner-occupiers of all ages tend to live in larger homes than social or private renters, more than two-thirds of older owner-occupiers were under-occupying in 2020/2021: nearly all (96%) older owner-occupied households have properties with two bedrooms; and 46% have at least three bedrooms. Furthermore, only 38% of over-65s households live in dwellings which are energy efficient.
  • Reducing floor space and having better insulation are among the best ways to reduce energy consumption and therefore bills. The larger the dwelling, and the higher the number of bedrooms, the more substantial the increase in energy consumption.
  • The report concludes that downsizing is a win-win for all generations as it is good for the pocket, good for the planet, and good for younger generations. It reduces energy bills for the old, reduces carbon consumption for all, allows for energy-efficient renovations, and increases the supply of family homes for younger families.
  • The government should encourage and incentivise downsizing, address the market failure in the retirement housing sector, and build more housing across all tenures.