2 Jul 2015

Leading the way on sustainability

A new report released in June has placed GreenSquare in an elite band of social landlords, who are taking action to tackle climate change while improving the homes of residents. 

In December 2014, we were awarded with awarded 'Silver' in the highly challenging Sustainability Homes Index for Tomorrow (SHIFT) benchmarking scheme (read more here). This means that GreenSquare is part of the SHIFT group of social landlords who measure, compare and improve their environmental performance across a host of measures. 

Following a survey of the group, SHIFT has released a report detailing the key findings and trends identified under key environmental performance areas, including: energy efficiency, fuel poverty and emissions; adaptation to climate change; ecology; and waste.

Tom Pritchard, GreenSquare’s Commercial Director, leads on the company’s green strategy. He said: “This new report confirms that we are among the top social landlords in the sector for providing warmer homes and cheaper energy bills. We’re proud to be at the forefront of sustainability and feel that this is a real advertisement for the difference that social landlords can make.

“Part of GreenSquare’s sustainability strategy is to ensure that the company adopts sustainable principles and policies in order to be able to provide the best living environments for our existing and future residents. 

“With 2.3 million households in fuel poverty in the UK, environmental sustainability is vitally important and something everyone must take seriously. When we talk about ‘environmental performance’, it’s not just some abstract ‘nice-to-have’ badge. For our residents, investing in this area means lower bills – as well as a higher quality of life.” 

SHIFT-accredited landlords are performing better, on average, than the rest of the social housing sector on the ‘SAP’ score, which measures the energy efficiency of homes, including how well insulated they are, and has the biggest single impact on both emissions and the ability of residents to manage their energy bills. In turn, social housing performs much better than homes in the private rented sector.

Key findings from the report include:

• More time is being spent assessing flood risks, and action is being taken to reduce them. As a result, over 300,000 extra homes have been confirmed as not at risk of flooding by SHIFT landlords. Flood risk is an area where performance has improved noticeably in the last two years.

• Residents are being engaged on energy efficiency and the type of discussion or education is more active. However, there remains a big opportunity for landlords to reduce residents’ bills and energy use by investing more in energy advice and staff training in conjunction with energy efficiency measures. The estimated total extra savings per year that have been made since 2012 from energy saving advice is almost half that for improving the energy efficiency of homes.

• Increasingly, organisations are realising financial returns from energy efficient works. Some are now recording savings from office costs, fleet costs and communal areas of hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds. Others report the halving of rent arrears associated with energy efficient homes.

To read the full report THE REVIEW: UK social landlords – environmental performance 2014/15, click here.

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