CSJ Launches inquiry into social housing decarbonisation

By Ben Robinson, Senior Researcher, Centre for Social Justice

CSJ Launches inquiry into social housing decarbonisation

21st October 2022

Ben RobinsonThe Centre for Social Justice has launched a new research project on the social, economic, and indeed environmental opportunities associated with residential decarbonisation, and the key role social housing plays.

A range of high-quality employment opportunities can be created through national-scale social housing decarbonisation. Alongside a clear plan to ensure people have the skills ready for newly created jobs, which can support both national economic growth and provide opportunities to those who could benefit most.

Retrofitting, installation, design, manufacturing, and research all contribute to the growth of over 500,000 jobs which can be created by scaling up social housing decarbonisation. While upgrading some of the oldest and most energy-inefficient homes in Europe.

Decarbonisation can provide communities which would benefit most from levelling up with a sustainable future. By improving existing housing stock and ensuring new social homes are high quality, communities can be stimulated by skilled employment opportunities, an improved built environment, and more content residents.

Furthermore, social housing decarbonisation can reduce energy bills for some of the lowest-income households in the country and allow a greater proportion of homes to be affordably warm, by addressing the 1.6 million social homes with poor energy efficiency ratings.

A quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK are associated with heat and energy use in buildings. Decarbonisation of the country’s five million strong social housing stock is essential to meet legally binding Net Zero targets by 2050. This can occur through a range of provisions, including insulation and innovation of new technologies such as ground source heat pumps.

This year’s party conference agendas were full of panel discussions on the opportunities and challenges of Net Zero. It is a key discussion point across the political spectrum.

The UK has an opportunity to become an international decarbonisation centre of excellence through continued research and development of associated technologies, high-quality manufacturing, and targeted skills provision. The birthplace of the industrial revolution can now become a world leader in decarbonisation.

The social housing sector has begun the journey to decarbonisation. Despite cross-parliamentary interest and the wheels already being in motion in the social housing sector, however, there remain barriers to delivering social housing decarbonisation which works for all stakeholders.

International comparisons, such as the regeneration of post-industrial towns in Austria catalysed by investment in decarbonisation industries, and excellent work currently carried out in this country, can provide inspiration for the future of social housing decarbonisation. Furthermore, any successes concerning social housing can be used to inform effective wider residential strategies and strategies for other industries.

Now is the opportune moment to ensure the short, medium and long-term opportunities of social housing decarbonisation are harnessed. Ensuring that the building of quality new homes and improvement of old stock has the greatest positive impact on the local and national economy, residents, communities with untapped potential, and contributes effectively to meeting crucial governmental priorities.

Call for evidence

The Centre for Social Justice is launching a call for evidence on the opportunities and challenges associated with social housing decarbonisation.

Our project will investigate how social housing decarbonisation can drive economic growth through a boom in decarbonisation employment opportunities alongside skills support to ensure new job opportunities can be filled by those who would benefit most, can provide a sustainable future for all communities, and enable social housing providers and the government to hit key Net Zero targets.

To contribute to our call for evidence please answer all relevant questions below.

The CSJ always puts frontline voices front and centre within our reports, therefore any specific examples within answers are greatly appreciated.

Click here for the call for evidence – Deadline Friday 25th November 2022

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