Agenda item

Presentation from Energy & Sustainability team


The Project Surveyor (Energy & Sustainability) gave Members a presentation which introduced the Energy & Sustainability Team and gave an update on the work being carried out by the Team.


At the Housing Services Cabinet Committee in September 2021 the Compliance & Projects Manager gave a demonstration of Portfolio to Members which is a web-based assessment tool to help design, cost and implement strategic carbon reduction programmes for our housing stock.


In mid-2020 the council purchased Parity software to store the housing stock’s energy data which allows us to run scenarios for improvements and provide financial forecasts for future budgetary requirements. Recently a data update was carried out to ensure the information we hold on our housing stock is accurate. This has improved energy performance generally and will further assist us to set achievable improvement targets and measure our progress towards Net Zero.


Current projects include:


·         The Local Authority Delivery Scheme Phase 2 – Gravesham has been awarded £297k and the council will contribute an additional £148,500 with the aim of helping those most likely to be in fuel poverty. Key rules for funding are that eligible homes are EPC bands E, F and G although some D rated properties are permitted. Around 130 properties will benefit from a number of energy efficiency measures including loft and cavity insulation, air source heat pumps and Solar PV panels

·         Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 1 – Received £823k with the council contributing £800k.  364 Council owned homes will benefit from insulation measures to improve the thermal comfort for tenants and improve the energy performance of the property. There is a deadline to finish the works of March 2023

·         Merston Court & Hermitage Road – Ground Source Heat Pumps – 16 Flats, 11 on electric storage heating and 5 on gas central heating. Improvement in EPC ratings from E/D to C/B. Carbon saving of 82% for Hermitage Road and 68% for Merston Court. Installation of smart controls will enable residents to save on heating bills

·         Empty property whole house retrofit trial – A property in Luddesdown became empty in March 2022. EPC rating was E using electric night storage heaters as no gas. Solar PV, Air Source Heat Pump, Loft and Cavity wall insulation were installed to improve energy efficiency. Solar hot water diverter was also installed so that any excess energy from the solar panels will power the hot water. £5k contribution from Local Authority Delivery funding scheme. Carbon emissions reduced from 4.5 tCO2 to 0.456 tCO2 and the EPC rating improved from an E to an A


Other achievements:


·         Delivered two Air Sourced Heat Pumps to a property on solid fuel and to a property on electric storage heating

·         Working with the Energy Saving Trust  - delivered first cohort of Energy Advice Training to create ‘Energy Champions’ within the Housing Service and created an Energy Saving Advice Leaflet for residents

·         Developed a Retrofit Resident Engagement Strategy

·         Progressed 28 ECO3 projects consisting of cavity wall and loft insulation. Properties completed to date equate to over £50k fully funded measures by Central Government

·         Forming good relationships with other councils and providers sharing advice including London Borough of Waltham Forest, Medway Council, MHS Homes and West Kent Housing

·         Both the Projects Surveyor and Apprentice Surveyor have successfully passed the Domestic Energy Assessor training allowing us to carry out EPCs in houses from April 2022 which will result in a £16k p.a. saving

·         Both the Projects Surveyor and Apprentice Surveyor have completed the Retrofit Assessor Certification enabling us to undertake domestic retrofit assessments


In progress:


·         Energy efficiency contracts to deliver essential works

·         Designs for GSHPs for residential blocks and Independent Living Schemes with poor energy ratings

·         Installation of Solar PV, battery storage and Electric Vehicle Charging at Carl Ekman House

·         Feasibility surveys for Solar PV and EV charging to all high-rise blocks to power communal electrics and create a network of charging points for our own fleet of electric vehicles of which we currently have 7

·         Working with retrofit specialist WarmFront to secure funding through the ECO3 and 4 schemes

·         Identified 10 suitable properties for Whole House Retrofit pilots. Working with a consultant to explore different techniques including Energiesprong and submitted joint bid through the Heat Pump Read Programme with West Kent Housing Association

·         Review of communal waste and recycling facilities across all council owned estates and identifying a programme of improvements

·         Exploring the implementation of water saving initiatives such as installing water efficient shower heads, tap aerators, dual flush toilets, waste water heat recovery and providing water butts

·         Government requirement for properties to reach EPC C by 2030. We aim to get our homes to a minimum EPC C by 2025 and decarbonising our stock to reach Net Carbon Zero using the data from Parity and the new asset grading system

·         Working with the Housing Development & Strategy Team to share ideas, contractors and future planning of energy efficiency of new build homes


In 2020 57% of our stock was EPC C or above with an average SAP score of 69.57.

Currently 63% of our stock is now EPC C or above with an average SAP score of 70.93.

14% (333) of the poorest performing properties have migrated from a EPC D or below to an EPC C or above since 2020.


Within the next 12 months we will:


·         Further rollout of the Energy Advice training to all housing staff creating staff ‘Energy Champions’ to provide support and advice to our residents

·         Research into the potential link between poor energy performance, voids and rent arrears, identifying the need for property improvements and resident support

·         Review the void property lettable standard to include air tightness, adequate ventilation and other suitable energy improvements

·         Review and align all planned works programmes with energy efficiency projects where long-term cost savings can be achieved

·         Continue to apply for and utilise further waves of Government funding such as ECO4 and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (Wave 2)


Following questions and comments from Members, the Project Surveyor highlighted the following:


·         Members noted the comprehensive report and the good work being done and the significant amount of grants received

·         A study was carried out using Parity software and the forecast showed £90m was required to get us to Net Zero taking into account properties that are hard to treat

·         In terms of the heat pumps, there has been a history of poor performance but government are actively encouraging LAs to move towards heat pumps. There is now more confidence in the market and there is a benefit to our tenants by installing these

·         Around 10 years ago there were some issues with cavity wall insulation and spots on the walls but at this time there were no standards in place whereas now there are legal requirements and so work is insured. Sometimes where an air source heat pump is installed there can be problems with solid walls and a complete extraction has to be done first

·         Some properties only require minor work whereas some require vast amounts. We have a lot of non-traditional properties with steel frames and to retrofit energy efficiency could be up to £150k per property but there are various things that can be done to reduce the cost. Some properties might only cost £30k. It depends on what work we are carrying out and the type of the property we are doing it on.


The Committee thanked the Project Surveyor for the presentation.