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Helping tackle climate change
We recognise our role in helping the UK government achieve its target of net zero carbon by 2050. The changes to how we build homes and heat the homes we manage will impact both our customers and us as an organisation. From the need to move every home we rent to a minimum EPC band of C by 2030, to the ban on gas heating systems in new-builds from 2025, we are looking to get ahead of these changes and help shape the future direction of the housing sector. We are planning to increase the energy-efficiency of both our new and older properties, targeting investment so our homes for rent are warm and affordable to live in. The challenge is big but if we get it right, we’ll become a more sustainable organisation. We recognise the price of energy can severely impact household budgets. Reducing cost and eliminating waste could lead to lower fuel bills for our tenants.
Our work so far
Last year we retrofitted 500 of our homes to make them more energy-efficient, successfully gaining Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) funding with East Cambridgeshire Council and Leeds City Council. We recently received £2.4 million from the UK Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and plan to upgrade at least another 345 properties across Essex, Shropshire, and Cheshire this year. We will provide residents with more detail in the areas where this investment’s planned. These improvements involve a careful and considered mix of various insulation upgrades, window and door replacements, draught-proofing, ventilation, renewable heat pumps and solar panels, all while keeping resident disruption to a minimum. Insulation and resident comfort are the focus of our whole house approach.
At the moment we’re exploring alternative heating systems to learn what might be better for the planet. We’re taking strides to reduce our carbon footprint and aim to half our operational carbon emissions by the end of the decade. Our dedicated Sustainability team are training colleagues in Carbon Literacy to both raise awareness and encourage positive changes in their behaviour. We have switched to a new electricity tariff that will reduce our carbon footprint by around a third and mean our offices, student accommodation and care homes are now wholly powered by renewable sources. We are an active member of the University of Worcester’s EcoHousing project. Launched last year the project promotes partnership and collaboration to share knowledge and improve environmental performance in the social housing sector. Our own plans to work in a greener way include the use of electric vehicles.
We have plans to measure all our Scope 3 emissions, the indirect emissions over which we have limited control. During 2020/21 the homes we provide generated around 226,474 tonnes of CO2e, which is why retrofitting a key priority in our Environment Strategy. Understanding our full Scope 3 will enable us to take targeted action in areas such as the goods we procure, or the carbon embodied within our construction processes. We are also challenging and supporting our supply chain to be more sustainable.
Would you like to be involved?
Working closely with our customers is essential if we are to achieve our environmental goals. We’re already engaging with more than 100 residents as we team up to address this challenge. If you would like to contribute you can join our ‘Environment and Climate Change' Community of Interest, where customers with an enthusiasm for more sustainable living help shape our environmental approach and communications. We will soon be approaching this group to help us shape our policy on electric vehicle chargers on our estates.
For more information about joining our Community of Interest please let us know using this simple form.