Social housing tenants need reassurance on decarbonising homes

New research suggests most social housing tenants don’t realise the impact their homes have on the climate crisis, according to housing association Sovereign Housing.

While most tenants recognise action is needed to tackle the emergency, not many understand action is needed to limit carbon emissions in the home.

According to the research, a large amount of tenants surveyed were surprised to hear about how many carbon emissions were released through the UK’s housing stock.

Sovereign Housing is now planning with tenants more, as a new programme of strategic asset management sets out ambitions to reach net zero targets.

houses near play yard during daytime

Tom Titherington, Chief Investment and Development Officer of Sovereign Housing, said: ‘I’m really encouraged by this – our customers’ attitudes to climate change are the same as most of us: we’ve each got a part to play in reducing the impact we have on the planet so let’s get on with it. But I am also really glad we have taken the time to really understand what people are thinking.

‘We haven’t got to go out there and explain from scratch about why climate change matters and what that’s got to do with oil and gas. But we have got to make the case to individual homeowners that changes to their home will make a difference. They rightly want to be reassured that their homes will be warmer and their bills lower before they are persuaded of anything else.’

Some tenants included in the research welcomed the prospect of home improvements to reduce environmental impacts, but others were more sceptical of what landlords would deliver for existing homes.

In particular, there were worries that removing gas from homes would leave people in the cold or with unaffordable electricity bills.

Overall, tenants were reluctant to face much disruption as renovations took place and many were not willing to move out, even temporarily, while works took place.

The research found that any work done to social housing should eb high-quality and homes should be returned to normal after retrofitting.

Mark Washer, CEO of Sovereign Housing, said: ‘Social housing providers are leading the way in the decarbonisation of the home. And in its commitment through our Homes and Place standard I believe that Sovereign can claim to be leading in the sector too. We want others to follow – and with the help of government – housing associations can play a major role in decarbonising millions of homes in our country. And by learning as we go, understanding what works and creating the workforce to deliver it we will be helping every homeowner in our country as well.’

Photo by Nick Hawkes


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