It’s becoming easy to lose track of the number of crises the UK is battling through right now. One of the most important to us all however is the gas crisis.
Gas is responsible for heating millions of homes and other buildings across the country and is one of the most valuable commodities we consume. So as the country faces up to a very difficult Winter ahead, there is a part for UK fenestration to play.
Investing to save
First, a quick recap as to why we’re all so worried about gas. Wholesale gas prices have risen over 250% since January and are continuing to rise. Over in Europe gas prices are hitting daily records, and in China, they’re suffering power supply shortages with cities experiencing power cuts. In short, large parts of the world are short of gas, paying very high amounts and we’re about to head into the colder part of the year. Not great.
In the UK, gas reserves are not as high as they would normally be, and we’re not able to store as much renewable energy as required to meet any gaps in demand. Add to the mix that gas prices are set to skyrocket up 35% on October 1st. This is a very steep increase and is going to affect every person that pays for it.
A high number of smaller energy providers remain at risk of going bust, with 1.5m people seeing their suppliers go out of business over the past few weeks.
The gas crisis is one of a number of issues that is about to create a huge cost-of-living squeeze for homeowners, which is something our industry needs to be concerning itself with.
However, where there is a problem, there is always an opportunity. The UK fenestration sector is an industry that can directly help when it comes to saving money and energy in the long term. New energy-efficient windows and doors can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of a home and cut heating bills down through better energy efficiency.
So whilst there is genuine concern about the cost of heating homes and buildings through this Winter, there should also be an emphasis on what homeowners can do in terms of investing in their homes to make them more energy-efficient. This is an opportunity for UK fenestration to up marketing activity and get in people’s screens and faces and show the public that investing in their homes, buying new windows and doors, can help protect them and their bills in the long term.
Spending may become tight
The gas crisis does actually present our sector with a good opportunity. But there is going to be work to do. Marketing activity to homeowners has to go up, and as livings costs rise rapidly, persuading people to part with thousands of pounds is going to be more difficult than it has been over the last 12 months.
Over the winter we are likely to see spending on big-ticket items become restricted. As the weather grows colder and Christmas comes, spending priorities will change. Our ability to sell with ease as we have enjoyed since the middle of last year won’t be the same. We are going to have to put in the hard work in sales once again to persuade people that replacing their windows and doors against a backdrop of rising living costs is still a good investment.
And let’s be clear, it is a good investment. Increased energy efficiency through new windows and doors benefits the property, reduces carbon emissions, and most importantly for homeowners it reduced heating bills in the long term. Those are the USPs right now that we have to be making a very loud point about whilst the focus remains on gas bills and climate change.
Personally, I think trading conditions are going to become very tough in the months to come. But our industry is uniquely placed to help solve many of the medium to long term issues homeowners face with their properties. Out of crisis, again our sector is presented with a great opportunity. We just have to be nimble enough to make the most of it.
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