Research reveals the sustainability of the social housing sector

// HA News

Recent research has sharpened the case for a more robust sustainability strategy for the housing sector across all tenures.

The study by campaigning consultancy Sustainable Homes, looked at the main sustainability issues in housing and provided evidence that environmental accreditation enhances performance in terms of sustainability and climate action. The social housing sector is undergoing major changes and sustainability has been frequently side-lined – but being sustainable impacts on decisions by investors and sustainable organisations are best placed to provide the safe, sustainable homes that is so desperately needed.

The study found that:

  • Overall the sector is 49% sustainable – the figure describes how close the sector is to meeting science based targets. 
  • 100% would indicate that sustainable targets are being met
  • The energy efficiency of homes is at 78% of what is needed to ensure carbon emissions are in line with UK climate change targets
  • Progress has been made by multi-tenure landlords on reducing emissions from their offices and fleet. However these savings are dwarfed by their Scope 3 emissions, which arise from housing stock, business travel, commuting, procurement and third party services. These emissions comprise 99.4% of the total and do not yet show signs of declining
  • The research reveals for the first time that the social housing sector is failing to decouple carbon emissions from financial growth
  • Multi-tenure landlords that have undergone environmental accreditation outperform other tenures in most categories including energy efficiency of homes, sustainable transport and overheating risk.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive UK Green Building Council said “It’s now more important than ever that landlords show leadership in delivering environmental targets across their homes, offices and operations, and work together to achieve, at least, the 80% emissions reduction target by 2050 as set out in the Climate Change Act. More needs to be done to educate and engage both landlords and residents in the business case for sustainability”.

Bevan Jones, Managing Director of Sustainable Homes said the research provided real insight into the issues that multi-tenure landlords, developers, designers and local authorities should be addressing.

“Multi-tenure landlords have been carrying the burden of housebuilding for a long time and should be commended, but we cannot just focus on numbers at the expense of the environment and our commitments as a country. The message is simple – we need quality, sustainable homes that realise the benefits now, but in the decades that follow”

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