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Supporting Social Housing Retrofit Ambition

29th Sep, 2022

Today marks the launch of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) competition. The Government has made up to £800m available through this fund, alongside further support being allocated to the Home Upgrade Grant scheme, to support Local Authorities (LAs), Social Housing Providers, or Residential Providers (RPs), with the upgrading of their housing stock.

The funds allocated under SHDF are intended to provide efficiency upgrades and decarbonisation measures to social housing with an EPC rating of D or lower, assisting the housing providers in delivering efficiency upgrades to those properties between early next year and March 2025. 

Through SHDF applications and project proposals, landlords are focussing on the installation of fabric measures in line with Standard Assessment Procedure recommendations, including cavity wall insulation (CWI), external wall insulation (EWI) and other qualifying insulation measures, to get properties up to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C.

Government is determined that the £800m fund have as much impact as possible on the quality of social housing across the country, and have asked for match funding to be provided for each home, essentially doubling the investment unlocked as part of this scheme, and assisting in the development of the retrofit supply chain by providing increased security, policy longevity and large scale project security over the next two years. The provision of this funding and ambition within the social housing sector shows that there is increasing awareness that the most effective way to reduce energy bills is by reducing the amount of energy that our homes require to stay warm and comfortable, especially during a time of fluctuating energy prices and climate.  

However, the challenges of planning and delivering large scale retrofit projects are well documented, including issues with the capacity of the supply chain, unlocking funding for projects, quality of the data available on housing stock and resource to allocate to the development and running of these projects. Despite being a priority for many local authorities and landlords, these challenges have proven difficult to overcome at scale. 

We have previously undertaken research to understand these challenges and proposed recommendations to government to enhance the support available to the social housing sector. Our report provided an overview of the current state of the social housing market with a particular focus on the capacity and skills gaps in relation to delivering energy efficiency retrofit programmes. Investigation into these challenges over short, medium and longer timescales allowed us to identify priority focus areas for scheme support to best assist with facilitating larger scale retrofit programmes both current and future, including steps that local authorities and national government could take, and suggestions for increased technical support leading into new funding waves.  

To assist LAs and RPs in ensuring that they are as prepared as possible to successfully bid into Wave 2.1 of the SHDF, Turner and Townsend (T&T) is delivering the Technical Assistance Facility, providing operational support and advice to potential bidders in the lead up to the bidding window, and now continuing throughout the bidding timescales, set to close on 18th November. Gemserv is delighted to be working with them as part of this crucial ongoing role, providing our expertise in bid management and applying our knowledge of the retrofit sector to support ambitious Local Authorities and Residential Providers in the development of large scale retrofit projects. 

For any further information on the support provided under the Technical Assistance Facility, please contact: info@socialhousingretrofit.org.uk

Authors

Ben Madden

Consultant - Low Carbon

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