The Road to Net Zero: Retrofitting Social Housing

Building new homes that are zero carbon or zero carbon ready is complicated enough but any complexities pale into comparison with the challenge of retrofitting all our homes to make them zero carbon by 2050. The imperative has never been greater given the way energy prices are rising now and the prospect of 50% of homes being in fuel poverty by December this year.

Currently there are 28 million existing homes in the UK the majority of which will need some energy efficiency measures to bring them up to zero carbon by 2050 - estimates on the cost of doing this vary wildly. To carry out a deep retrofit will cost between £40,000 and £200,000 depending on the dwelling, but at an average £70,000 that totals £1890 billion! The days of homebuyers not really being interested in energy efficiency and the cost of heating bills are long gone, but only homeowners with sufficient funds will be able to afford to carry out the measures.

The number of social housing homes in England is around 4.4 million as of June 2021 so the bill for the landlords to reach 2050 targets will be equally challenging at a total cost for net zero retrofit at £280 billion.

Interim measures are in place to bring all social housing up to EPC band C by 2030, the average cost of this work is assessed as being £20,000 per house. The number of social housing homes currently below this target is 1.4 million so the total cost of an interim retrofit is still a phenomenal £28 billion.


So where are the funds to come from?

The government pledged in 2019 £3.8 billion for public sector decarbonisation and has so far carried out a pilot phase and wave 1 is underway.

Round 2 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund application details are to be announced imminently and will provide £800,000,000 to be matched 50% by landlords to carry out retrofit measures.

At present we know each application will be for a minimum of 100 homes and landlords are encouraged to collaborate to achieve these numbers.

There are no restrictions on landlords carrying out more extensive works but there will be set funding limits for properties depending on their heating source for gas heating and wall construction from £7k for a gas heated cavity wall construction EERD property to £16K for a solid walled non-gas EER F/G.

As with earlier rounds, the timescales for planning and delivery will be tight with the round 2 programme to be completed by March 2025, so much of the preparatory work will have to be done in advance of the grant funding being confirmed in January 2023.

Areas that need to be worked on now are to ensure that the round 2 programme is delivered successfully are:

  • Finding the funds to meet the match requirement
  • Asset data: having sufficient data on properties for the bids and then for detailed delivery programmes
  • Securing professional expertise or training retrofit assessors and coordinators
  • Procurement routes to deliver the works and secure suitable contractors
  • Gaining buy-in, support, and trust from residents

At SWPA we can help provide one part of the puzzle with our procurement solutions, we have frameworks specifically for refurbishment and energy efficiency measures offering either a comprehensive approach or just one or two measures. The framework appointed companies have gained valuable experience on the LADS programme and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Round 1 and can now assist with the planning and deliver the works in an efficient and cost-effective manner and assist clients in meeting the challenges of following the PAS 2035 process. 

Our Road to Net Zero: Procurement Solutions for Retrofitting Social Housing guide summarises all you need to know about how our frameworks can help your organisation make the most of the funding available, including information on our community benefit fund!

Contact the team today for more information.

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