Homes UK 2020 was a fantastic conference with many great events and speakers. The final day was full of gems, and the stand-out panel for me discussed the cost of net-zero retrofit and the solutions needed.

Following a survey of over 200 councils and housing associations, the expert panel discussed the current average energy efficiency ratings for social housing, the targets social landlords have set to achieve net-zero and how much they estimate retrofitting will overall cost.

The top-line points from this thought leadership are:

  • 21% - the percentage of social landlords surveyed who were able to define what net-zero will look like in their housing stock
  • £20,742 – the average per unit cost expectation for achieving net-zero 
  • £104bn – the total sector cost by of achieving net-zero by 2050, based on the roughly 5 million social homes in the UK
  • £3.8bn – government Manifesto commitment (the first tranche of Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund was for £50m)
  • D – the average EPC rating of current social housing stock
  • 500,000 – the number of new tradespeople needed to deliver this initiative

Four our Social Housing clients, residents typically pay for energy as a service, with the housing provider partially subsidising cost rises. Therefore, both the organisation and the residents stand to benefit from reduced energy consumption. For providers committed to reducing the environmental impact of operations and becoming a sustainable housing provider, a reduction in usage could deliver lower carbon emissions, improved local air quality and health benefits for residents.

Using the roughly £20,000 unit cost, what’s the best way to go about this retrofit? There have been plenty of pilot projects, but the key lies in making sure any solution suits the building fabric: for better or for worse, there is no ‘one size fits all’ option. Consultants and providers need to carefully consider this infrastructure and knowledge in approach for each unique scheme.

For the Sustainability and Energy Building Services team at Pick Everard, headed by Dr Jose Hernandez, Pick Everard have produced a simplified nine-step process to guide our clients through their journey:

  1. Quantify areas of significant energy use
  2. Identify opportunities to improve efficiency
  3. Examine building controls strategies
  4. Prioritise retrofit measures
  5. Identify metering & monitoring solutions
  6. Select opportunities for educational and behaviour change
  7. Highlight any schemes or residents at risk of fuel poverty
  8. Provide funding options for highlighted measures
  9. Recommend retrofit projects in line with funding initiative

Pick Everard were proud to be listed by the Financial Times as one of the top UK’s Leading Management Consultants in 2018 and 2019 in Sustainability based on recommendations from clients and peers. 

We are here to help clients in all sectors improve the sustainability performance of their buildings in design and operation, not only saving energy but improving thermal comfort and performance productivity. Get in touch with Abigail Blumzon, Client Project Delivery Advisor, to find out about how we can help you define and meet your net-zero goals.