During summer 2008 Dulwich Going Greener carried out a Survey of Lifestyle and Attitudes to Green Issues in Dulwich.  Participants completed a questionnaire on-line via the DGG website and 174 replies were collected.

Key Points:

  • The sample is sufficient to get a snapshot of the way Dulwich people are living and thinking in 2008.  We cannot, however, be sure that the views expressed in the survey are typical of the local residents as those participating may be more sympathetic to green issues than the average and almost 60% are already members of DGG or would like to join.
  • The survey will, however, provide a baseline against which to measure changes in the years ahead but we should not read too much into the results of a single survey.
  • Participants in the survey are much better off than the average UK resident, most own their own houses which are of average size.  Household size is a little above average.
  • Most houses in Dulwich are poorly insulated, only half the light bubs are low energy and many central heating boilers are old.
  • Most  households have one car and the majority the use petrol rather than diesel and very few are electric or hybrid.  Most are medium sized and only a few are small.  
  • Few people drive to work or drive their children to school.  
  • Dulwich residents make an average of two return air trips a year mostly to Europe.
  • Respondents have a pronounced sympathy to the “Green” point of view but there is some ambivalence about some issues.  Two of these, charging air travellers for the damage they do and taxing car users more heavily, would affect most of us directly.  
  • By no means everyone has set low a temperature for their central heating or cut down on holiday flights to reduce their carbon footprint.  Similarly not everyone regards the statement that “We use our car and seldom/never use public transport” as being completely untrue.
  • The final questions relate to more short term issues can lead to direct saving of money.  Again there is considerable sympathy towards the green point of view although  there is some variation in levels of commitment to particular issues  although most people are well over in the right direction.

Demographics of the Sample

  • Two thirds of respondents were in SE21, SE22 or SE24 with almost all the rest coming from adjacent areas.  Dulwich is an affluent area and the average household income of respondents was £80,000 compared to a national figure of barely £30,000.
  • Most respondents live in detached, semi detached or terraced houses with only 13% in flats.  Ninety percent of houses are freehold or on long leases.  The age of houses is spread over a wide range with 20% built before 1900 and 18% after 1960.  19% of people have been in their house for less than 2 years but 22% have been resident for over 20 years. The average is about 12 years.
  • Most houses are on 2 or 3 floors with an average of 3_  bedrooms, a little above the national average.  Only 30% of houses have a garage and these are mostly for only one car.  Almost 40% of houses have no off street parking.
  • There were 464 people in the households covered by the survey giving an average household size was 2.7 significantly higher than the national average or 2.3.  35% of houses include at least one person over 65.  12% of houses are occupied entirely by people over 65.  27% of residents are in full time education while 16% are retired.  The remainder are in full or part time work and 20% of these work from home.

Energy Saving in the Houses

  • 18% of people do not know the construction of their external walls.  Of the remaining houses 65% have solid brick walls, 22% have cavity walls and only 13% have cavity walls with insulation.
  • 40% of houses have double glazing on most of their windows but a quarter have no double glazing.  The rest have about half their windows double glazed.
  • Loft insulation is not appropriate unless you occupy the top floor of the house which applies to 7% of respondents.  Of the remainder 15% don’t know what loft insulation they have, another 14% have none and only 12% have over 200mm, the minimum amount recommended for efficient insulation.
  • 24% of houses have all or almost all energy saving lighting but 5% of houses have none.  On average about 50% of light bulbs are low energy but a higher proportion of lighting comes from such bulbs as they are usually put where they will be used most frequently.
  • 3% of houses have solar thermal panels, 1% have solar electric panels and 1%  have wood chip boilers.   The only significant energy saving device is metered water which almost half the houses have.
  • Gas is by far the most widely used fuel.  It provides the fuel for 96% of heating, 85% of hot water and about 75% of cooking
  • Central heating boilers have improved from 60% to 90% efficiency over the last 20 years.  Boilers over 10 years old should be replaced but a quarter of houses in the survey have boilers older than this and 43% of houses have houses less than 5 years old.


  • Half the houses in the sample have only one car but 30% have more than one and only 17% of houses do without a car.  Between them respondents own 199 cars or 1.14 cars per household
  • Nearly 80% of cars run on petrol and most of the rest are diesel but there is one electric car in the sample and 8 hybrids.
  • Most cars are medium sized with engines between 1.4 and 2.0 litres but 30% of them are smaller than this while 14% and over 2 litres.
  • Only 11% of the sample travel to work by car.  40% walk or cycle and 46% use bus, train or tube.
  • Half the children walk to school, 20% cycle and only 16% are taken by car.
  • If more public transport were available locally half the sample say they would use buses etc somewhat more while 15% would use it a lot more but it would make no difference to the remaining third.
  • Between them members of the households in the survey had  made an average of almost two return air trips each.  The majority of these, 70%, were within Europe, including UK but 15% were to North America or the Caribbean and only 6% were to the Far East or Australasia.

For more information on Dulwich Going Greener and further results of this survey go to www.dulwichgoinggreener.org

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