Sustainability in the Future of Housing

Clare Miller
July 8, 2024

In this blog post, Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, discusses how the housing sector can work together to tackle energy inefficiency and set best practice for decarbonisation. 

At Clarion we believe sustainability is not just about buildings, but people. As much the resident behind the door as the solar panel on the roof.

We invest in the future of people and places and we know that delivering on sustainability is an essential part of creating a thriving 21st century community.

Clarion has ambitious goals to deliver all of its new housing as low-carbon by 2025, ensuring that at least 75% of all build materials are responsibly sourced by this time. We have set a clear development roadmap which paves a journey to deliver new homes fit for the future and which move away from fossil fuel heating systems.

But we are also working hard to tackle energy inefficiencies in existing Clarion homes, at a time when fuel costs have never been higher. With 80% of the UK building stock that will exist in 2050 already having been built, it is vital that we drive down the carbon footprint of our properties. We are making a fast start on addressing the homes that pose the greatest risk of fuel poverty to residents, targeting an EPC rating of D or better in all our homes by 2025.

As well as investing in homes from our own balance sheet, including installing over 1,000 air source heat pumps over the past decade, we are also a key partner to government on its landmark retrofit programme. Through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, we have brought hundreds of our social homes up to a higher EPC standard over the past year – with plans to upgrade 450 more thanks to a recent £5m funding award.

Upgrading these homes, some of which are around 70 years old, has been an education – in most cases taking us between one and two months to complete. Taking a ‘fabric-first’ approach, we have substantially reduced their heating needs by keeping heat in the home. A number of retrofit measures have been deployed, including external wall insulation, triple glazing, solar photovoltaic panels and air tightness improvements.

My vision for Clarion is that we continue to be innovative in acting to cut carbon emissions. I am looking forward to talking at the Future of Housing conference this year about our plans, as well as learning about the progress of our peers in the sector.