Housing and the green deal
This week the government launched its green deal and John Perry, policy advisor, talks about what their 2050 targets look like for the housing industry in his latest blog.The government is aiming to be the 'greenest ever' with its legally binding targets to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and an interim 2020 target too. The green deal is their flagship campaign to tackle the crippling effects of climate change.
You might be wondering what the 2050 targets means for you and your organisations. This target translates into the extraordinary objective of retrofitting one house every minute to a high standard of energy efficiency. More than a quarter of the carbon we produce comes from our homes and a proportion from our gadgets too. Although it's hard work to cut household emissions it is much easier to do than cutting those from transport because we depend heavily on oil and this is likely to continue for some years to come.
The launch of the green deal has been fairly low key and the government hopes the slow roll out will pick up momentum when householders realise what fuel savings can be made.
However, this method has flaws: consumers have to take out loans with complex agreements, based on promises of reduced fuel bills; investment is limited to what can be recovered; and consumers won't see their bills goes down initially because they'll be spending their money on the loan repayments. Fuel costs are constantly on the increase so the benefits of lower fuel bills will be long-delayed.
In the social housing sector, the government has the opportunity to invest directly in the stock through cost-effective programmes that raise energy-efficiency standards in whole neighbourhoods. As our guide to Greening your housing stock shows, there are already many examples of councils and housing associations doing just that. But the programmes that have enabled them to do so are now coming to an end, and the replacement 'ECO' programme is not yet in place. The result is that energy efficiency has fallen down the agenda of housing bodies too, yet they are precisely the organisations that need to be in the lead in driving towards the 2020 and 2050 targets.
There's still much that the housing sector can do. We need to make the most of the green deal and other programmes, including EU funding. Housing bodies need to know the energy efficiency of their stock and it should be a major factor in their asset management strategies and planned maintenance programmes. There's still time for the housing sector to take a lead on green issues.
If you're involved in asset management, repairs and maintenance and retrofitting and sustainability then why not attend our newest flagship event - Homes 2012 on 14/15 November.
Read more from John with his opinion piece for Public Finance