As a species, we are all becoming well versed in the dire need to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and the UK has outlined several policies and introduced bespoke funding pots to achieve its net zero carbon ambitions.
The challenge is vast and multi-faceted but something that has become abundantly clear to us, as a business, over the last few years, is that the power of introducing decarbonisation measures across social housing stock is often far greater than any other sector.
That’s not to say, it’s needed less across general housing, education, or healthcare, but the cumulative effect from introducing low carbon solutions for social housing is incalculable.
Reducing energy bills and offering warmer homes for tenants, helps to combat fuel poverty and plays a pivotal role in the Government’s levelling up agenda, offering greater opportunity for health, welfare, and pride of place.
It’s something we have had the pleasure of witnessing through our work with local authorities, housing associations and registered providers across the country.
We recently completed a multi award winning Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) project on behalf of Gentoo Group in Sunderland, in what we believe is the largest gas replacement in high-rise tower blocks across the UK.
By degassing 364 flats across seven blocks, we renewed the heating and hot water supply to all seven tower blocks, removing aged and inefficient gas heating and hot water systems from each dwelling. This introduced high efficiency and cost-effective heating to every dwelling via Kensa GSHPs; uniquely heating both their home and water with renewable heat from the Earth’s core.
Heat accounts for around a third of all CO2 emissions in UK homes and this GSHP installation will provide savings of more than 2,686.32 tCO2 over 20 years – contributing to Sunderland’s net zero carbon ambitions.
Off the back of this, we have also recently won a ground-breaking project with Your Homes Newcastle, to deliver low carbon heating for 164 homes.
Centred on the Denton Park House and Hilltop House tower blocks in the West Denton area of Newcastle, the £3.8m project will see the complete removal of the gas-powered central heating systems, and this will be replaced by GSHPs. The work is being supported by partners Newcastle City Council, which secured funding from the Government’s Renewal Heat Initiative to help fund the scheme.
It’s fantastic that organisations like Gentoo, Your Homes Newcastle and Newcastle City Council are not only recognising the need to decarbonise but are prioritising their communities and investing to make positive change.
Schemes such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Scheme (SHDS) have been monumental in supporting this agenda and we have successfully secured millions of pounds for our clients, through the fund, to deliver vital net zero carbon technologies that are changing lives for the better.
Supporting comment from Newcastle City Council
Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: “Housing is one of the most challenging areas when it comes to achieving our net zero ambitions, with homes in the UK producing more carbon emissions than all the cars in the country combined.
“Existing, older homes are by far the worst polluters, and with over 80 percent of the homes people will live in in the city in 2050 already built we know we need to take decisive action, retrofitting properties to improve their energy efficiency.
“We are working on a programme to improve our own housing stock and this project is key to that, with new low carbon heating systems and projects to improve insulation also helping to reduce energy demand.”
This article originally featured in The MJ.