The collaboration has been created to address some specific challenges for the sector such as tackling high levels of fuel poverty due to increasing energy bills, identifying the optimum investment in homes to increase SAP ratings, and helping tenants understand the use of any new heating technologies installed in homes.
The collaboration provides an opportunity for British Gas to test the use of lower carbon solutions in a variety of homes, as part of its ambition to help customers be net zero by 2050. For Midland Heart, it allows for greater buying power, meeting the resourcing and skills challenge at scale. The housing provider will also benefit from specialist knowledge in understanding new technologies as well as help with navigating a complex grant funding regime.
The partnership will showcase how social housing can be retrofitted with lower carbon energy, combining conventional fabric first approaches alongside new and innovative technologies.
It follows a successful pilot in Coventry which saw EPC ratings in three homes rise from E and F to B. Works will also look to understand how the technologies transition into service and maintenance to ensure a positive customer experience.
Work will be tailored to suit a variety of homes. Midland Heart’s longer term objective is to ensure all 34,000 homes achieve a minimum of EPC C by 2030. This supports the organisations low carbon action plan and its commitment to becoming a net zero landlord by 2050. The plan centres on three specific themes, ‘the homes we rent, the homes we build and the way we work’.
Project planning, delivery and compliance is being overseen by PH Jones, British Gas’ specialist social housing business. The project will also create customer friendly information on how to make the most of the new technology, reducing both energy bills and carbon emissions.
This partnership coincides with the successful announcement of the wave one Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, with Midland Heart securing grant through consortium bids with local authority partners.
Jana Siber, Managing Director, British Gas Services and Solutions said:
“With the majority of UK homes using a gas boiler for heating and hot water, we need to accelerate the deployment of lower carbon heating projects like this to help millions of homes reach net zero, while ensuring we are all creating a fairer and more sustainable future for all."
"Working with housing associations such as Midland Heart is helping us to show the changes we can make to help reduce energy bills for customers, while also improving local air quality and making a significant contribution towards our net zero targets.
“We’re drawing on the specialist renewable energy skills, knowledge and resources across our business to make it happen, and to strengthen our position at the forefront of the UK’s transition towards cleaner, greener heating."
The partnership has been funded through various streams by Midland Heart, PH Jones and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
Delivery on the first phase of the project, which involves c150 homes, is expected to begin in February 2022.