How Crown Commercial Service can help tackle energy inefficiency in social housing

From: Crown Commercial Service
Published: Mon Jun 26 2023


CCS's new Housing Maintenance and Repair Dynamic Purchasing System can help tackle energy inefficiency in UK social housing.

In the UK, housing associations collectively provide homes to around 6 million people - nearly 1 in 10 of the total population. Given the scale of social housing, housing associations can play a significant role in helping to meet the UK's net zero goals. Here's why:

On a residency basis, households are bigger emitters of greenhouse gases (GCG) than any industry sector, accounting for 26% of total emissions, with around 14% of these emissions coming from domestic heating in the housing sector. Although energy-efficient housing varies depending on property age and type, the age of a property is the most significant single factor in the energy efficiency of homes.

Tackling energy inefficiency in the housing sector - the challenges

Whole home retrofit (where a tenanted property is updated to make it more energy efficient and to reduce carbon emissions) is a significant priority for the housing sector. According to a recent report, UK housing associations will have to spend 36 billion to bring all their homes up to an EPC C efficiency standard by 2030 and install the required insulation, ventilation, and clean heat technologies to meet the UK government target of reaching net zero by 2050.

The report also highlights that the energy performance of the UK's social rented sector is significantly better than private housing, partly because of energy efficiency and fuel poverty regulations and partly because social landlords are proactively tackling the energy-efficient retrofit of their properties. The sector is already investing and driving innovation in this area. As a result, 64.3% of housing association homes already have an EPC rating of C or above.

Although tackling home energy inefficiencies is an urgent requirement, the cost to make homes more energy efficient by improving insulation and ventilation and installing energy-efficient heating and cooling systems is a significant barrier to overcome.

Scale is also a problem. At the current pace, achieving goals to retrofit all social and fuel-poor homes by 2030 will be challenging. Local councils, calling for more actions, are keen to step in with locally targeted programmes to tackle fuel poverty.

Accelerate action through whole home retrofit

Repairs and maintenance have always been a hot topic in housing - it's usually the top priority for residents because it can make or break a housing provider regarding the quality of their homes. Whole home retrofit is the process of improving a home's energy efficiency, comfort, and sustainability.

It can involve a variety of measures, including:

  • adding insulation, which can help to reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer, making the home more comfortable and reducing the energy bill
  • installing energy-efficient appliances, which can help reduce energy bills and make the home more environmentally friendly
  • replacing windows and doors, which can improve air quality and reduce noise levels, making the home more comfortable and liveable
  • installing solar panels, which can generate electricity from the sun, making the home more self-sufficient and reducing reliance on fossil fuels

Housing associations also face increased scrutiny to effectively target damp and mould problems, which ties in with the new amendment to the Social Housing Regulation Bill - Awaab's law. Awaab's law requires housing associations to take steps to tackle damp and mould issues in their homes.

Whole home retrofit can be an effective way to comply with this law, as it can help to reduce damp and mould problems, improve residents' comfort and quality of life, and increase energy efficiency and sustainability.

Yet funding retrofitting programmes while building new homes to meet demand is a significant financial challenge for the social housing sector. It's projected that retrofitting all social housing in the UK could cost as much as 104 billion, with the annual cost estimated to be 3.5 billion.

Improving energy efficiency in social housing

Crown Commercial Service's (CCS) new Housing Maintenance and Repair Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) agreement offers various services that can help reduce energy costs and achieve net zero in social housing. The new DPS provides a compliant, one-stop shop for all housing maintenance and repair aspects for both tenanted and void/vacant properties.

The DPS also offers buyers more flexibility in choosing suppliers because it allows new suppliers to be onboarded to the agreement at any time. This is especially relevant to Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which requires tenants and leaseholders to be consulted about works of a certain value, and allows them to nominate contractors to be considered to complete the work.

What are the benefits of using CCS's new DPS?

Our new DPS has the agility and flexibility to meet the wider government's Carbon Net Zero 2050 target and any future decarbonisation legislation with Whole Home Retrofit and Maintenance services. By implementing energy-efficient measures through retrofitting, social housing residents can benefit from reduced energy costs.

Here's how:

Whole Home Retrofit Service

Retrofit services allow housing associations and local authorities to upgrade their existing housing stock with energy-efficient measures. Retrofitting can include installing solar panels, insulation, improved ventilation, and ground source heat pumps, enhancing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs for residents.

For example, installing solar panels, insulation, and ground source heat pumps, for example, can improve the energy efficiency of social housing and give residents an average saving of 42% or 567 per household per year.

Access to accredited suppliers eligible for government sustainability funding

Many customers in the housing sector will be drawing down government funds for sustainability-related works. To draw down those funds, their supplier needs to have the PAS2030 accreditation.

Our new Housing Maintenance and Repair DPS features suppliers with PAS2030 accreditation - where retrofit teams, including assessors, coordinators, and designers, have clearly defined responsibilities and meet accountabilities when proposing whole house remedial works.

To complement these services, we also can offer Whole Home Retrofit, with our PAS 2030/2035 certified suppliers able to provide solutions to help tenants save money on energy bills and help Buyers meet their net zero goals.

Improved housing portfolio management

The new DPS agreement provides access to Housing Portfolio Management services, enabling effective management of housing stock. For example, it includes handling move-ins/outs, disposals, and implementing a centralised service to manage and fulfil repair requests.

In addition, the agreement covers essential compliance services such as fire safety, electrical testing, and asbestos management. Ensuring compliance in these areas contributes to overall energy efficiency and safety in social housing.

Promotion of innovation and local supply chain

CCS recognises the importance of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local suppliers. By working with a diverse range of suppliers, including SMEs, you can stimulate local economies, create employment opportunities, and promote innovation. Engaging with local suppliers can also reduce carbon emissions and costs by minimising travel distances.

Find out more

We want to empower you to get the best possible value from your procurement and join the growing number of housing providers making significant savings with CCS every year.

To learn more, visit our agreement page and join our housing forum.

Company: Crown Commercial Service

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