UK housing net zero opportunities and challenges

UK housing net zero opportunities and challenges

Mears Group has launched its first Decarbonisation Report, which lays out the scale of the opportunity and challenge facing the housing sector as it works towards reaching the UK’s net zero targets.

Building on its extensive experience of retrofitting homes to make them more energy-efficient, the report, Warmer, healthier homes — domestic retrofit a net zero opportunity, recognises that while there has been some progress, the industry is behind where it needs to be in its net zero journey.

It highlights some of the progress that’s been made, such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), which has proven to be a major catalyst for change. It also celebrates emergence of new forums including the National Home Decarbonisation Group, which Mears is a founding member of, as showing willingness across the industry to work together.

The report discusses the scale of opportunity which retrofitting brings in terms of jobs. With estimates that the retrofit will require almost 500,000 trained professionals to deliver housing targets, there is scope for people to develop careers in this area. But with an ageing workforce and ongoing skills shortages, it is vital that the benefits of joining the sector are clearly communicated and that the industry develops clear succession plans to manage the transition across the workforce.

The report also addresses the importance of collaboration across the sector and with government. It recognises that given the number of properties which need to be retrofitted, estimated to be up to 29 million homes, long-term policy support is required, along with clear regulations and standards.

To meet these massive targets, for both retrofit and new housing, the sector must come together and share knowledge, experience and technology. The report puts forward 12 recommendations, which include engaging with tenants by focusing more on their needs, creating new funding models, making retrofit and social housing more appealing as a career choice, and placing greater emphasis on the social value of retrofit.

Collaborative working
Lucas Critchley, Chief Executive Officer of Mears Group, said: “We know that we cannot reach net zero without decarbonising the UK’s housing stock, and as a sector we all need to work together to meet this goal. Our position as one of the UK’s leading and most trusted providers of specialist housing service means we have a unique perspective on the challenges the sector is facing. We also know what there is a massive opportunity for industry to make a real difference, but we must act now to embrace it.

“We are pleased to launch this report which builds on our own experience and wider sector trends to look at what industry needs to do to ensure that the transition is inclusive, and that the benefits are felt by everyone.

“By working collaboratively, we can build a future where everyone has access to safe, affordable housing that goes some way to achieving our net zero ambitions as a country.”

The report’s 12 recommendations are aimed at helping the sector meet the goal of ensuring the UK has healthier, warmer, better ventilated homes, which support the country’s net zero goals.

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