The rising cost of energy is the top concern of households across Europe, ahead of paying the rent or mortgage, a survey has found.
And the fear of soaring gas and electricity bills is leading more people to invest in improving the energy efficiency of their homes, according to the research by Kingfisher, which owns the DIY store B&Q.
The company’s European Home Report, covering 17,000 householders in nine countries, revealed that 65% of respondents said meeting their energy bills was their number one worry.
That was well ahead of issues such as other household bills and home maintenance costs, while just 23% said they were most anxious about keeping up with the rent or mortgage.
“Rising energy prices are a very real fear – right across Europe, a bigger concern even than worries about paying the rent or mortgage,” said Sir Ian Cheshire, group chief executive of Kingfisher.
“There is a staggering increase in the number of people who intend to prioritise energy efficiency and it is soaring bills that is driving this agenda.”
People are eight times more likely to prioritise energy efficiency changes to their homes than two years ago, the report concluded, with 31% intending to update their homes now compared with just 4% in 2012.
Households in the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ireland, Romania and Turkey took part in the study.
In the UK, just over a fifth of respondents had improved energy efficiency in their home over the last five years and another 29% believed they would need to do so in the next five.