G15 emphasises challenge of meeting net zero commitments in evidence to Select Committee inquiry

G15 members warn of the difficulty of funding net zero homes without a credible long-term financial settlement.

Improving the sustainability of the homes we provide and cutting energy bills for residents is a critical priority for all G15 members. We are making good progress in improving the energy efficiency of the 770,000 homes we collectively own and/or manage. 73% of our members’ homes already meet or exceed EPC C, and we plan to retrofit roughly 27,000 homes by 2025.

However, we still have 98,000 homes to upgrade to EPC C with limited financial support to do so. Furthermore, significant further investment in fabric efficiency upgrades, low carbon heating systems, on-site renewable energy generation and offsets will be required to meet net zero.

This comes at a time of increased financial pressure for the sector, as outlined in our recent evidence submission on the finances and sustainability of the social housing sector.

This is why we are calling on the government to:

Place housing associations on a stronger financial footing to invest in new and existing homes

  • Create a long-term plan for housing, involving government working with the sector to agree on a financial strategy for the sector that makes zero carbon affordable
  • This strategy should increase the duration of the Affordable Homes Programmes from five years to ten to offer housing associations long-term certainty over the provision of capital grant subsidy
  • It should also involve a new long-term rent settlement that is adhered to, so housing associations can be confident in committing to the delivery of ambitious retrofitting programmes

Remove some of the financial and practical barriers to achieving net zero

  • Provision of long-term rather than piecemeal funding through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to avoid putting undue pressure on the supply chain and inducing unnecessary cost increases
  • Better and more supportive planning policies that help, rather than hinder, retrofitting
  • Greater support with decarbonising listed buildings
  • Enforcing higher energy efficiency standards across new builds, so these don’t require retrofitting by 2050
  • Fostering greater collaboration across the energy and construction industries to explore energy-efficient innovation
  • Reviewing the Energy Performance Certificates system (see response to question 12)
  • Consideration of how city and regional councils can complement the approach taken under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), by encouraging collaboration and more localised multi-organisation approaches to prioritising estates for upgrade
  • Equip DESNZ to be a leading department with skilled people creating, supporting, and delivering long-term policies
  • Work with the sector to develop a comprehensive supply chain and skills strategy that supports the full range of Net Zero, maintenance and homebuilding goals
Read the report (PDF)