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What are the main factors influencing registered social landlords’ decisions to build beyond level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes?. By Andrew Lau and Paul Grainger Housing Studies Association Conference York April 2010. Overview . Introduction Research Questions Literature Review

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slide1

What are the main factors influencing registered social landlords’ decisions to build beyond level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes?

By Andrew Lau and Paul Grainger

Housing Studies Association Conference

York

April 2010

overview
Overview

Introduction

Research Questions

Literature Review

Findings

Conclusion

Question Time

introduction
Introduction

CO2- ~30% from homes.

Under the revised Climate Change Act, the UK is committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 80% by 2050- housing sector is the likeliest sector to make this commitment across the whole economy (Footprint, 2009).

What is CfSH?

Code for Sustainable Homes- ‘the most challenging and demanding housing standards” (Osmani and O’Rielly, 2009, p. 5).

introduction1
Introduction

2010- 25% more energy efficient and 50% more water efficient than 2006 standards. Code Level 3.

2013- 44% more energy efficient and 50% more water efficient than 2006 standards. Code Level 4.

2016- zero carbon and 80% more water efficient than 2006 standards. Code Level 6.

CfSHtimeline

Projected increase in building regulations requirements

Source: Bodkin, (2009, p. 3).

research questions
Research Questions

What are the main drivers for RSLs to build beyond level 3 of the Code?

What are the barriers for RSLs to build beyond level 3 of the Code?

What would RSLs like to be doing more of in terms of providing low or zero carbon housing and how this can be better facilitated?

literature review
Literature Review

UK Government: all new build by 2016 will be zero carbon.

Social housing is at the forefront of demonstrating the possible (Hancox, 2009).

Drivers:

Business

Cultural

Legislative

Technological

literature review1
Literature Review

Barriers:

Cultural

Financial

Legislative

Technology and Design

findings
Findings

Drivers

Legislative: “industry will respond best to legislation” (Osmani and O’Reilly (2009, p. 9). Higher levels under the Code= funding. Create a level playing field:

“If all housing providers follow the Code then it becomes cheaper for us to do that.”

2. Cultural: tenants are becoming more environmentally aware/cautious, can drive RSLs to build to higher levels.

findings1
Findings

Business: More likely to get schemes funded by the HCA compared to another organisation building at minimum standard. Only benefits the tenant through lower bills.

“No advantages…cost is disproportionate and prevents us from providing housing”.

Contradicts various findings e.g. greater publicity, enhanced brand recognition, motivates supply chain, attracting more customers and attracting a higher caliber of employees

2. Technology: sufficient choice is available. Looking at new methods of construction

findings2
Findings

Barriers

Financial: Not enough financial incentives. Insufficient data available to to build beyond Code level 3 in terms of costs- aura of uncertainty.

“No not at all, very little data to build level 3 never mind beyond. The amount of help has been nothing, the Code assessors only there to assess they don’t give advice, recommendations etc. We need more money to build beyond level 3”.

findings3
Findings

Cultural: Negative stigma attached to low or zero carbon technologies- high cost and reliability issues.

“We want to do a communal heating system for five houses, cost £50,000, that’s £10,000 per property and look after costs. It doesn’t make good sense”.

Legislation: lack of guidance and too complicated.

“Very little data to build level 3 never mind beyond. The amount of help has been nothing, the Code assessors only assess, they don’t give advice, recommend. What needs to be done is somewhere we can access good coherent information on practices like a good practice website”.

findings4
Findings

Council workers lack knowledge as they don’t come from a ‘housing background’.

“We need the councils support before we go to the HCA. We spoken a lot of councils but when we talk to them they don’t realise the difficulty of achieving level 3 and 4. There are a lot of things in the Code that the councils aren’t aware of”.

CfSH- harder for small and rural RSLs- especially the mandatory requirement to reduce surface run off. Very inflexible and increases friction between HCA, LA and RSLs.

“Maintenance issue on solar panels and heat pumps. You would have to go to that organisation because they are the organisation can do it… It’s a bit unpopular [CfSH], we don’t have a choice and they [LA and HCA] don’t see that. They just think we are being awkward”.

findings5
Findings

Social landlords should focus on housing that is affordable rather than to develop higher levels of the Code.

HCA relaxed the demand for homes beyond Code level 3 due to the current economic climate.

Existing homes must be made more efficient- same as new development. If not, problems will arise for housing management e.g. different running costs, older stock may become unpopular.

findings6
Findings

Design and Tech: Only applicable for large scale developments.

“Yeah you could look at district heating systems, economies of scale… If you are going to build six up in the Dales you got no chance”.

Renewable technologies- costly, reliability issues, tenants find it difficult to use and difficulties on managing e.g. someone needs to manage a district heating system.

“Is it value for money or just ticking a box in a form?”.

findings7
Findings

Reducing surface water runoff- implement rainwater harvesting system  costly for organisation, unpleasant for tenants and requires electricity that goes against the 25% reduction on CO2.

Peoples’ wants might be compromised in order for the RSL to meet various standards e.g. lack of en-suite, can’t have full bath and radiators on walls. Low carbon lifestyle must be developed first.

findings8
Findings

What would RSLs like to be doing more of in terms of providing low or zero carbon housing and how this can be better facilitated?

Targeting private developers.

More funding.

Increase flexibility.

Clearer guidance on the CfSH.

conclusion
Conclusion

CfSH is the most important factor to build beyond Code level 3. Must be treated with caution.

Building beyond Code 3 can fulfill the landlords moral obligations.

Financially unviable to build to Code level 5 and 6.

Must be a level playing field.

If the UK Government does not put the CfSH high on its agenda then it is unlikely to move beyond tokenism and rhetoric.