Social Housing Retrofit – Where to Start?

Net zero retrofits can be complex. Particularly when you’re talking about thousands of social homes that will be affected.

If you’re planning a long journey it helps to know where you’re starting from. In the world of social housing retrofit this means understanding stock condition in fine detail. Yet many social housing providers lack confidence in their knowledge of the condition of significant parts of their stock.

If you have a detailed picture of the stock in a database that’s easy to access and interrogate, it will make reliable planning possible. Precise retrofit work can be quantified to support accurate budgeting, scheduling and cost-efficient procurement.

Fill Stock Condition Knowledge Gaps

If there are substantial grey areas in stock condition data, filling in the gaps is the best place to start. It will help identify the most urgent priorities.

Most if not all housing providers will have properties where loft insulation could be installed or upgraded. There will be windows and external doors scheduled for replacement and cavity walls that could be insulated.

Identifying these properties will provide the basis of an urgent programme of work with a big impact on the lives of many people. The works are straightforward and involve established skills and materials.

There may also be funding available through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and other sources. The application process may be a little complex but it is possible to negotiate your way through it with a bit of help.

These high priority properties may be a substantial proportion of the homes that need to be uprated to at least EPC Band C by 2030, which seems a good place to start focusing activity.

Talk to Residents Confidently

Residents are key partners in all of this. Resident engagement can’t start soon enough. People are already concerned about their energy bills and will be eager to understand how their housing provider is planning to help.

When you communicate with residents they’ll inevitably have many questions. Some will be general and some will be about their home and the retrofit work needed. Speaking from a position of detailed knowledge will help ensure residents are committed and supportive.

In other words, we’re back to accurate and complete stock condition data as the basis for everything related to net zero retrofit – including how you communicate with residents.

For ideas about how to increase the rate of progress towards net zero carbon social housing visit our resource centre. Or contact Nick Davidge ([email protected])