Agenda item


Housing Decarbonisation Target report and appendix attached.


The Sub-Committee was updated on the Housing Decarbonisation Target. The report set out to provide an update on the decarbonisation activity and forward plan for the HRA housing stock.


It was explained that that in order to significantly reduce the Council’s carbon footprint and in turn minimise the climate, economic and social impacts which would flow from increased temperatures, the Council aimed to make direct changes in its HRA Housing stock.


Domestic heating and hot water production was estimated to contribute 21% of the UK total carbon emissions. Fuel poverty regulations also imposed an obligation on landlords to bring all properties up to EPC band C by 2030. The Council’s current domestic property portfolio was largely 1940s, 50s and 60s built properties which were not designed to meet the modern insulation and ventilation standards, and therefore needed considerable work to bring up to the levels required.


Currently due the Decent Homes programme, the average SAP rating was circa 70 (EPC C). However there were circa 2,600 properties currently below a band C. (there were not EPCs for every property and therefore some information was estimated. Undertaking full EPCs of all properties was ongoing). A high level assessment of the possible measures required to bring all properties up to an EPC C initially and ultimately zero carbon has been undertaken by Savills.


The assessment identified spending of £23k per property which would achieve an 87% carbon reduction. Officers explained this would include insulation and windows, and was classified as a fabric first approach. A total spend of £276m would be required across the entire stock and when costs were removed for Decent Homes type programmes (already in the business plan) there would be a need to identify circa £200m.


The remaining 13% carbon reduction would require significant additional investment in deep retrofitting properties, however it was felt that the decarbonisation of the electrical grid and improving technology would close the gap.


The new Housing Asset management Strategy (attached Appendix 1) has embedded a zero carbon approach across all future work streams, and this would be a key consideration as the design programmes would maximise the investment benefit. For example a de-gassing of high and medium rise building is being investigated. This would remove a significant fire risk in terms of a building safety approach, and would be a zero carbon alternative solution. 


A full road map for each property to ensure that a clear programme of activities to achieve the 2030 and 2040 targets and ensure the HRA business plan includes sufficient monies would be developed. This would ensure that the most appropriate investment decisions were made across the portfolio.


Furthermore, external funding streams were also being investigated to see if there could be a reduction on the impact on the HRA. There was a bill submitted for £1.0m through the Social Housing Decarbonising Fund (SHDF) which would allow a number of the poorest performing properties to be brought up to a C Band and a delivery vehicle has been planned should the bid be successful.


Discussion occurred around insulation in external walls as then it would require less heating within PSIF buildings. Officers explained that insulating floors was likely the best approach but was the most difficult and that making buildings too air tight caused damp and therefore a balance approach was required that used a holistic methodology and was monitored when specific funding was granted. Further challenges were found in finding certified tradesman to do the work.


It was confirmed that the Council would find out whether the bid for funds was successful in February 2022. There was a total of £80m available but lots of competition. However, regardless of whether the Council were successful they would continue works as planned because there would be further future bids available. Future updates on all bidding would be provided at future meetings on a 6 monthly basis period and added onto the work programme.


Members raised further concern over costs and where the money would come from especially as costs would likely rise further as time went on. Officers explained that if they did everything that was on the plan now it would cost £200m. However, since the plan would be continuous, developing and evolving over time with new technologies. etc, officers believed costs would possibly decrease with a wait and see strategy to maximise value for money.


The Sub-Committee noted the contents of the report.


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