Homebase is to develop and market energy efficiency services such as installation of cavity wall insulation after discovering that consumer appetite for green products is greater than originally thought.

A study for the Home Retail Group-owned DIY chain revealed that, far from being the preserve of eco-conscious middle class consumers, such products and services have widespread appeal and the prospect of saving money is a trigger to action.

Homebase’s findings were part of its 21st Century Living project being run with the Eden Project and corporate responsibility adviser Acona that challenged 100 nationally representative families to reduce their environmental impact.

Previously it had been thought that the green market comprised about 7% of consumers but the study showed “it is a myth that the environment is mainly a middle class obsession” and households in the C2D demographic did best.

“This is a mass market opportunity,” the report found, advising that the promotion of green products should not be based on “value” but “appeal to the wallet”.

Participants in the project were given £500 to spend on improvements and financial inducements may boost retailers’ sales. The report says: “Giving people money unlocks investment - in this project at the rate of £1 to £1. This rate should be attractive not just to policy makers but to manufacturers and retailers. Give people a voucher for £500 off and they may well be tempted into spending an extra £1,000. Of course, the retailer has to have the right products.”

Retailers are increasingly battling for share of the green pound. Tesco this week began selling solar panels.