Blog August 4, 2020

What can be done to meet Government energy efficiency targets?

By John Buckland

Within the social housing industry improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock is a key objective for all organisations.

Properties that are more energy efficient mean lower energy bills for tenants, which in turn can help them pay their rent. This leads to less rent arrears and less empty properties, as low energy bills make properties more attractive to tenants in general.

Another key driving factor for the focus on energy performance are the targets which have been set by the various UK Governments. They are as follows:

  • England – properties to have at least an EPC rating of Band C by 2030
  • Scotland – properties to have at least an EPC rating of Band C by 2040
  • Wales – all new homes to be heated and powered only from clean energy sources from 2025
  • Northern Ireland – don’t have any home related targets but are aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 35% by 2025.

More to be done

However a recent report found that two thirds of homes in the UK are below the required C grade.1 This shows the level of work which is still to be done in this area.

Additionally, when you factor in the secondary target that Great Britain has of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, you can see that this is going to be a hot topic for decades to come.

Within the UK social housing scene there are a lot of older homes which means a lot of retrofit measures are going to need to be taken in order to get properties up to the required level outlined by the Government.

Making these improvements represents a significant financial outlay for social housing organisations. One which could pose a big challenge for some providers whose budgets are already stretched due a range of factors including losses caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of building new homes and the rapidly increasing cost of repairs. A recent survey found that the cost of repairs was up 7.7% year on year (around £250m).2

To help with this, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently announced a £50m fund for social housing providers looking to carry out such retrofit projects which will improve energy performance.3 Priority to the fund will be given to the least energy efficient properties with heat pumps, insulations and double glazing the key areas of improvement.

However this fund is currently only available for one year so it doesn’t represent a real long-term solution. Also a recent report found that the cost of making improvements to a home in order to make it carbon neutral was £22,000 per home4, so on this basis the £50m fund would only cover improvements on 2,272 properties.

Intelligent Energy

To help social housing providers work towards meeting these targets we’ve introduced some new functionality into our MRI Housing Asset Management solution.

Customers can now upgrade their Auto Assessor Pro to Sava’s new Intelligent Energy software. The key benefit that Intelligent Energy brings is that it analyses your data and provides data-driven recommendations for cost effective improvements to help boost the energy profile of your housing stock. All data is synced back into MRI Housing Asset Management giving you a single view of the truth for your data.

Having access to these recommendations can help you make long-term plans about which properties you should address and what method of improvement will have the most impact.

Intelligent Energy also provides customers with:

  • A visual interface where you can interrogate your data.
  • Automatically plots properties onto a Google Map (including Street View functionality) – a great way to visualise your housing stock.

If you would like to find out more about Intelligent Energy or MRI Housing Asset Management, get in touch with us today to arrange a demo.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50573338
  2. https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/repairs-and-maintenance-tracker-2020–how-much-is-your-housing-association-spending-64427
  3. https://www.housingtoday.co.uk/news/chancellor-announces-50m-social-housing-retrofit-programme/5106864.article
  4. https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/housing-association-says-zero-carbon-will-cost-20000-per-home-66885

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