Net Zero Carbon: Are you ready?

Simple steps to get started now

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While social landlords have been focussing on Building Safety since the Grenfell Tower Tragedy and more recently dealing with Covid, they need to start developing plans to decarbonise both their business and their existing stock. It is important to start developing plans now, building them into business and finance plans and getting Board level and senior management agreement to these plans.

While decarbonisation will be a long-term activity, there are some quick wins organisations can start with, such as establishing their baseline to identify hotspots and focus activity strategically. Even though plans will be reviewed as policy and technology develops, they will ensure that landlords do not miss opportunities. For example, with the building work required to meet the new fire safety requirements, especially any recladding with all the disruption to residents as well as the costs of scaffolding, landlords need to consider what work could be done at the same time to improve energy efficiency. A decarbonisation plan will enable landlords to incorporate measures to decarbonise their stock as part of fire safety remedial action, as well as planned work, to minimise disruption for residents and additional costs. This will be important when budgets have been reduced by building safety work and it will also enable them to avoid missed opportunities. Planning will enable landlords to have projects developed to such a level that they could use any funding opportunities that arise, such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. It will also provide the opportunity for landlords and their contractors to ensure they have the necessary training and accreditations required under PAS 2035.

In the coming months, the NHMF will be publishing a series of articles and case studies to help the sector plan for decarbonisation (or Net Zero Carbon), providing practical advice and examples. They will also illustrate how other sectors have already started to decarbonise their businesses, including FTSE 100 companies, and are now seeing business benefits. Social landlords can learn from what other sectors have done on decarbonisation and the benefits they are realising. The NHMF has already published a Q&A on Net Zero Carbon and existing stock which will help landlords develop their initial plans and set targets for what could economically be achieved now on the road to Net Zero Carbon.

Following the G7 Summit and with the UK hosting COP26 this November, there is going to be an increasing focus on how to deal with the climate emergency and global warming. The Government has already accepted the Climate Change Committee’s recommendations for its 6th Carbon Budget, which will require a 78% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2035. This will be enshrined in legislation before the summer. Gas boilers will be banned from new homes from 2025. This ban on gas boilers will apply to existing homes at a subsequent date but this has yet to be announced. Social landlords will be expected to play a leading role in decarbonising the existing housing stock, irrespective of whether there will be additional Government funding.

As well as social landlords, these articles will be relevant for their contractors, facility managers, suppliers and vehicle operators.

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