The overall aim of the UK government’s Clean Growth Strategy is for homes to hit zero carbon emissions (net) by 2050 – something that is likely to be a considerable undertaking.
In this article, we explore just one part of this challenge – the push for all social housing to achieve C-rated Energy Performance Certificates by 2035.
So what stands in our way on the road to achieving this milestone, and how do we intend to tackle the challenges ahead? Here are just a few of the hurdles that must be surpassed.
- The Existing Percentage of C-Rated Homes
Currently, less than half of social housing in England and Wales is rated below C in terms of energy efficiency. This is already a great achievement, but it will take a concerted push to make the improvements required to reach 100% over the next few years.
Meanwhile, as of 2019, only 30% of all homes in the UK had achieved this level of energy efficiency – something that presents an even greater challenge for the future.
- The Financial Strain
The costs involved in improving existing properties to meet the aforementioned target is likely to be relatively high. This is due to the nature of the adjustments and additions required, which may include the installation of new, high-quality thermal insulation, the improvement of roofs, changes to heating systems, the installation of low energy lighting and any additional renewable power solutions.
According to the National Housing Federation, this may cost anywhere between £1,000 and £25,000 per property – and, while the UK government offers some grant funding, it is unlikely to cover larger scale projects such as whole estates.
- Approaches to “Lost Cause” Properties
In some cases, the cost of renovating existing properties to hit an energy rating of C may exceed any return that could possibly be achieved by the owners or managers of those properties.
In cases of this kind, we still do not know whether additional support may be available in order to make the venture worthwhile – or whether there may be exemptions.
- Time Constraints
The original version of the Clean Growth Strategy was laid before Parliament in October 2017.
In the years since then, there has been a great deal of change – both within the UK and the wider world. For example, the long-term implications of Brexit continue to unfold – and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic caused much of the construction industry to slow significantly throughout early-to-mid 2020.
It is difficult to judge the precise influence that either of these major incidents will have on the UK’s residential energy efficiency pledge, but it is certainly worth noting that 2035 was a somewhat ambitious goal to begin with.
However, with worldwide focus on sustainability, eco-friendly activities and the reduction of carbon footprints gaining ever more weight and traction, it is highly likely that a large number of valuable resources will continue to be thrown at the housing sector in order to meet this target.
The UK has experienced significant changes over recent years, and it is still difficult to predict the precise nature of the landscape against which the property and construction industries will be working to achieve their goal for social housing,
Commenting on the question, Ruban Selvanayagam of sell house fast firm and auctioneer Property Solvers believes that “answers will no doubt become clearer as the consequences of COVID-19 are assessed and the changes resulting from Brexit come more plainly to light.”
“While it is in no doubt that there are great challenges ahead, the improvement of energy efficiency when it comes to social housing across the UK is clearly an important step towards the overall Clean Growth Strategy goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050,” he concluded.
This is a promoted article.