Net Zero and Sustainability – Which Way Now For Social Landlords?
Environmental sustainability and net zero are the future for social housing. But while the ultimate destination might be known, the route to get there often seems less clear.
Each social housing provider will be starting from a different place. For one thing, the housing stock will be unique to each provider. There will be a different depth of knowledge about the current performance of their stock. Additionally, for each social housing provider, the measures and investment needed to achieve a universal minimum of EPC Grade C by 2030 and net zero by 2050 will vary.
It isn’t all about the stock and the carbon emissions from the average home. Environmental sustainability encompasses the entire operations of housing providers, their property services partners and their supply chains. Decarbonising operations may have a different timeline to decarbonising the stock – but it’s still a priority.
A Way of Working
That’s why environmental sustainability isn’t an initiative or a project – it’s a way of working. It’s also a long journey where we don’t yet know what all the questions and problems will be – never mind the answers.
Sustainability isn’t just something that you are obliged to do. ESG credentials could become more significant for attracting investment such as green bonds and accessing government funding for decarbonisation programmes. We can’t forget that one of the big positives of net zero is that residents will have warmer homes that are cheaper to heat.
The Right Partner
It’s not possible to make every operational decision right now based on incomplete knowledge. So it’s more important to make the right strategic choices.
Getting systems, processes and reporting mechanisms up to the required standard will help build the foundations of success. The key decisions involve the partners you will work with on your journey to net zero.
The following are useful capabilities to seek out:
- Compliance data management – ensuring existing data sets are accurate, complete and usable for planning and reporting purposes.
- Retrofit planning – from analysing current stock, to planning retrofit programmes and resident engagement.
- A demonstrable commitment to working with residents and delivering social value.
The sector is moving from a time of sustainability policies to one where environmental sustainability is embedded in every business process. Working with partners that are enthusiastic about this change and have already demonstrated commitment will make the transformation easier.