The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has said that boosting investment in decarbonising social housing stock could generate thousands of jobs – while achieving the government’s aim of reducing carbon emissions.
In a briefing produced in coordination with Orbit Group, the CIH noted that housing is a major contributor to the UK’s carbon emissions, with 14% coming directly from a combination of building homes and living in them.
In 2019, the government formally announced its target of achieving a ‘net zero-carbon’ economy by 2050.
For the housing sector, this means building new zero-carbon homes, retrofitting its existing social housing stock, and decarbonising assets such as vehicles.
The CIH briefing highlighted existing government projects – such as the £2bn Green Homes Grant and the £50m social housing retrofit programme – that have been designed to improve the performance of buildings.
However, both CIH and Orbit said that more needs to be done.
Gavin Smart, chief executive of the CIH, said: “We have a duty to do what we can, together with government, to lower our carbon emissions through building new homes and retrofitting our existing housing stock.
“Not only is this good for the planet but creating more energy efficient housing is good for residents’ health and their finances.
“Creating a greener country is also an excellent way to boost our economy, making sure homes are at the heart of recovery from the pandemic.
“Together, with a coalition of partners and over 60 supporting organisations, we’re calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing.”
Mark Hoyland, group chief executive of Orbit, said: “Tackling climate change is probably the biggest challenge the world faces.
“UK social landlords have a fundamental role to play in reducing the environmental impact that arises from building and maintaining homes.
“To do this takes strong partnerships with government, the supply chain, residents and funders.”
This week, the CIH launched its 2020 Housing Festival. The five-day event has taken place entirely virtual due to the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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