Support for social landlords and local authorities to navigate retrofit and energy-efficient housing upgrades

Support for social landlords and local authorities to navigate retrofit and energy-efficient housing upgrades

Social housing providers and local authorities faced with retrofitting housing and building stock to a net zero carbon-ready standard can now access a list of approved experts with the diverse skills to do the job.

A new certification scheme launched recently identifies energy efficiency and retrofit professionals with a range of qualifications in assessing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and retrofitting housing stock.

The Better Buildings Consultant scheme comes from the UK’s leading provider of training and accreditation for energy efficiency professionals, Elmhurst Energy, and was announced at its National Conference, in Leicester, on Tuesday 27th February.

Stuart Fairlie, Managing Director at Elmhurst Energy, said: “As a nation, we’ve never been so acutely aware of the need to make our homes and buildings more energy efficient. This is even more important for the estimated 3.17 million people in fuel poverty in 2023* — an issue compounded by the energy price cap that remains more than 59% (£700) above summer 2021 levels.

“For social housing providers targeted with getting all homes up to EPC band C by 2030, who are also housing many tenants on low incomes, retrofit and energy efficiency improvements are most vital. But they must also know where to turn to get fully qualified advice and skills in retrofitting and improving home energy efficiency to reduce energy consumption and lower energy bills for occupants — while cutting carbon emissions.

“A Better Buildings Consultant will offer the guarantee and extra assurance that an energy efficiency professional has a holistic understanding of all these issues and the right competencies and technical experience.”

Photo credit: Dave Warren/Picture Team

It answers a need for a growing workforce in energy efficiency, retrofit and net zero carbon-ready buildings and follows a recent estimate from CITB that the UK must find 12,000 trained workers every year until 2025. This rises to 30,000 every year until 2030 to achieve net zero and retrofit targets.

Better Buildings Consultants are accredited energy assessors with a broad range of additional qualifications/competencies in areas such as retrofit, overheating risk assessment, U-value and Psi-value calculations — which measure heat loss in a building, and airtightness measurement — to understand where drafts and heat loss are occurring in a property. They could also have competency in ventilation — to support reduction of damp and mould, legionella risk assessments, and Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) assessments.

“Without the right expertise, energy efficiency measures can be installed incorrectly or without understanding of how this could affect the building as a whole, leading to more harm than good. These unintended consequences could mean a home is poorly ventilated, leading to damp and mould, or is prone to overheating during the summer months. We saw Awaab’s Law introduced in July 2023 to address these issues by placing additional legal duties on landlords to tackle hazards in social homes,” Stuart added.

Approved Better Buildings Consultants can be found on Elmhurst’s Find an Assessor directory, which supports housing associations and local authorities to source the skills they require.

*Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ)

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