Almost half of consumers are planning to make their homes more energy efficient over the next three years, according to new research by Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

The research comes as this week's Budget announced €202 million from carbon tax revenue for residential and community retrofit schemes.

It also confirmed plans for a scheme, partly funded by the European Investment Bank, that enables credit institutions to offer loans to support home retrofitting at reduced interest rates.

The survey shows that 24% plan to upgrade heating controls, while 21% plan to install solar powered heating or electricity systems.

When asked about the barriers to making energy efficient improvements to their homes, over 50% of adults claim the high cost associated with such work is the single biggest obstacle.

The survey found that 40% of consumers said having Government finance and knowing the energy cost savings would encourage them to consider investing in retrofitting.

Over three in five consumers said they have already undertaken some form of retrofitting, with attic or wall insulation the most common form of green upgrade completed.

Unsurprisingly, the main reason for wanting to make their home more energy efficient was to help reduce energy bills, which was cited by 42% of consumers.

This was followed by 22% of those who said their main reason was to make their homes warmer and more comfortable

Looking at how consumers plan to finance retrofitting work, over half of those who have already made home improvements said they had used savings to fund this work, with almost one in five having used a bank or credit union loan.

For those planning a green upgrade in the next three years, 53% say they plan to use savings with a further 28% saying they will use a loan from a financial services provider and 22% expecting to use government grants.

"Our survey results today show that there is clear and increasing demand by consumers to retrofit their homes for a variety of reasons," said Brian Hayes, chief executive of BPFI.

"This will undoubtedly be further assisted by the measures announced in the budget as well as funding ring fenced in the National Development Plan," he said.

Mr Hayes said BPFI members offer discounts for customers who choose green finance products.

"The sector is now scaling up to offer additional products such as personal loans, savings and investment and e-car financing in response to and anticipation of the increasing demand," he said.

Mr Hayes said the banking industry is continuing to reduce the direct impact on the environment stemming from their own activities and investments.

"We are ready to play our part and look forward to working with all stakeholders – public and private – local, European, and global - to ensure we are supporting consumers and clients along every step on their journey and to create the right environment for the transition to a green economy," he said.