Quantitative modelling of why and how homeowners decide to renovate energy efficiently

C. Wilson, H. Pettifor, G. Chrysochoidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding homeowners' renovation decisions is essential for policy and business activity to improve the efficiency of owner-occupied housing stock. This paper develops, validates and applies a novel modelling framework for explaining renovation decisions, with an emphasis on energy efficiency measures. The framework is tested using quantitative data from a nationally-representative survey of owner-occupied households in the UK (n=1028).

The modelling advances formal representations of renovation decisions by including background conditions of domestic life to which renovating is an adaptive response. Path analysis confirms that three conditions of domestic life are particularly influential on renovation decisions: balancing competing commitments for how space at home is used; signaling identity through homemaking activities; and managing physical vulnerabilities of household members. These conditions of domestic life also capture the influence of property characteristics (age, type) and household characteristics (size, composition, length of tenure) on renovation decisions but with greater descriptive realism.

Multivariate probit models are used to provide rigorous, transparent and analytically tractable representations of the full renovation decision process. Model fits to the representative national sample of UK homeowners are good. The modelling shows that renovation intentions emerge initially from certain conditions of domestic life at which point energy efficiency is not a distinctive type of renovation. The modelling also shows clearly that influences on renovation decisions change through the decision process. This has important implications for policy and service providers. Efficiency measures should be bundled into broader types of home improvements, and incentives should target the underlying reasons why homeowners decide to renovate in the first place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1333–1344
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date6 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • Renovation
  • Decisions
  • Policy
  • Model
  • Energy efficiency

Cite this