Social housing sector ‘willing and able’ to retrofit

The social housing sector is willing and able to carry out energy efficiency retrofits. That’s according to a recent survey of social housing providers from the National Energy Foundation, Capita and […]

By Jonny Bairstow

The social housing sector is willing and able to carry out energy efficiency retrofits.

That’s according to a recent survey of social housing providers from the National Energy Foundation, Capita and the University of Salford.

The respondents are responsible for the management of an estimated two million properties across the country, which is around half of the UK’s total social housing stock.

The results show the sector is investing in energy efficiency, with £120 million having been injected in the last year from the survey sample alone – 42% have spent more than £1 million, with 7% spending more than £5 million.

The main barrier to retrofit is a lack of funding and an unproven business case. Most social landlords (85%) fund projects from internal budgets.

The survey reveals social housing providers recognise the importance of good data in identifying, making a business case for and fixing energy efficiency issues.

The providers said the overwhelming driver for retrofit was reducing fuel poverty and improving affordability for tenants – 85% of respondents cited this as their primary motivation.

Organisational commitment was given as the second reason at 55%. The two least quoted reasons were generating income from renewables (12%) and demand from residents (14%).

More than 70% of respondents voiced an interest in collaborating with other registered providers, the health sector and local authorities to deliver community wide retrofits but are not currently doing so, suggesting these groups may need to increase engagement and support for this to happen.

Principal Energy Specialist at the National Energy Foundation, Luke Smith, said: “It’s very encouraging that the social housing sector is undertaking some excellent retrofit work and is willing and able to deliver. In a positive response to uncertain times, it is clearly investing in retrofit and innovating in the field of energy efficiency.”

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