Wates tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions in social housing with Wates Retrofit
Wates is marking the run up to Europe’s largest housing festival, Housing 2022, with the launch of Wates Retrofit, a new stamp of quality that signals the Group’s commitment to net zero carbon and to supporting those facing fuel poverty from unprecedented rising energy costs.
- Energy efficiency measures so far delivered for 531 social housing properties
- 1,000 social housing properties currently undergoing retrofit assessments
- PAS 2038 compliance expands retrofit service to non-domestic properties
The launch of Wates Retrofit comes two years after the Group’s dedicated social housing maintenance business – began working with social landlords and housing associations to retrofit ageing housing stock.
The service launched in response to Government targets, which demand all social housing properties have Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands of at least C by 2030.
Established in partnership with Energy Specifics in November 2020, the fully PAS 2035 compliant service has so far seen Wates Living Space install energy efficiency measures at 531 homes, with a further 856 in progress, and over 1,000 currently in the assessment and design phase.
Through its work to date, Wates Living Space has improved EPC ratings by at least two bands to achieve a minimum C rating, with some homes achieving a B rating and many more forecasted for further improvements.
Wates Living Space’s retrofit projects to date include 80 properties for Northampton Partnership Homes, 178 homes on behalf of Stevenage Borough Council, 50 homes on behalf of the London Borough of Enfield and three pilot properties in the London Borough of Brent to inform the council’s wider retrofit strategy.
Through the Wates Retrofit service, Wates Living Space supports customers with funding applications, including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), Green Homes Grant LAD Scheme, as well as accessing Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Funding for clients.
In February this year, Wates Living Space successfully supported customers through the SHDF Wave 1 bidding process,securing £10m to deliver energy efficiency measures to over 1,000 social housing properties.
The strategic growth of Wates’ retrofit offer has more recently seen the business expand its capabilities to include a PAS 2038 compliant service in partnership with Energy Specifics to support non-domestic customers with their carbon reduction strategies.
Standards such PAS 2035 and PAS 2038 take a ‘whole building’ approach which considers the building as a system of elements and factors like occupancy comfort rather than being focused on single measures.
Wates Retrofit is set to be rolled out across the Group’s energy efficiency retrofit work, bolstering Wates’ commitment to the wider sustainability of the built environment. In January 2020, the Group was among the first in the sector to announce its own targets to achieve zero waste and carbon from its operations by 2025.
The Group works with blue chip customers, including major high street banks to undertake commercial retrofit work, and is applying its expertise to public buildings, including schools. Last year Wates partnered with leading architects and engineers to launch a retrofit service aimed exclusively at the NHS in England, to help decarbonise the existing hospital and healthcare estate.
In addition, Wates Residential – the Group’s housing development business – has a wider strategy to ensure energy efficiency is integrated into its new build projects. The business currently has 2,788 homes under construction across 30 sites, all of which are being built to EPC B or above.
“We embarked on our retrofit journey two years ago and we proudly became a leader in what was a relatively new and undoubtedly significant challenge for our industry.
There are approximately five million social housing properties in the UK; some are new and inherently efficient, but the majority are decades old. Every single one requires an individual design with necessary property changes, and appropriate and cost-effective energy efficiency measures for that individual property. The task at hand is vast, but the knowledge and best practice we have built up positions us as the perfect partner for our customers, many of whom are themselves navigating new challenges when it comes to carbon reduction.
With the launch of Wates Retrofit, we make a pledge to elevate our retrofit service for both domestic and non-domestic clients. We will continue to work collaboratively with them to navigate grant and funding streams, ensure compliance and connect them with our specialist supply chain partners. Our aim is to help our clients reduce their carbon emissions, but within this vital objective is another pressing issue; families are facing rising energy costs. Helping to address this makes our retrofit work even more important to our business.”
Executive Managing Director of Wates Property Services
The UK Government has pledged all parts of the economy will be net zero by 2050, however over 80% of the buildings that will be in use in 2050 have already been built. This means the UK’s existing building stock must be upgraded to reduce carbon emissions and reduce spiralling energy costs. This equates to 26 million homes, of which nearly 5 million are in social housing