Tpas and PlaceShapers Net Zero Week

Posted on: 11 Oct 21

Following the report from Tpas and PlaceShapers, Residents’ voices in the UK’s Net Zero Carbon journey, it became clear we all needed to work further together on discussing the potential concerns and issues directly from residents and how we can do more together to help organisations on their decarbonising journey.  

Net Zero refers to achieving a balance between the amount of Greenhouse Gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.  

A recent survey found that nearly two-thirds of social housing residents have never heard of ‘net zero’. Tackling climate change needs to be a shared goal for landlords, residents, and other stakeholders if we are to stand any chance of succeeding. We’ve all got a part to play. We know there is lots to do in raising awareness about the challenges, the technologies, and the practicalities. This awareness week will start to do that.

Below is a snapshot of what Stephen Phillips, Trident Group’s Decarbonisation Project Manager, is working on to help us to reduce our carbon footprint:

Stephen Phillips, Decarbonisation Project Manager

Hi, I’m Stephen and I joined Trident Group earlier this year as a Decarbonisation Project Manager, having previously worked within the housing and housing retrofit sectors for the last 25 years (including private, RSL and Local Authority Housing). During this time, I have worked in several diverse roles including housing officer, service manager, environmental manager, regeneration manager and more recently as a supply chain and contractor manager working on the Wales Warm Homes Programme.

As a Decarbonisation Project Manager, I’m here to assist Trident Group in meeting its obligations under the Zero Carbon legislation – whereby the Government has set the target of the UK becoming carbon neutral by the year 2050. This is a massive undertaking as it means that all our domestic, commercial and industrial energy requirements must be met through sustainable zero carbon (or carbon offset) production. For the Group to meet this target, we must examine the materials that make up our homes (for example: walls, windows, doors, roofing and floors) to see how good they are at insulating and retaining heat.

The materials or elements that make up a building are known as the ‘fabric of the building’, which simply refers to ‘any structure, surface, fixture or fitting associated internally of externally with a building’. You will often see energy schemes referred to as following a ‘fabric first’ approach. Once we understand the ‘fabric performance’ of our buildings, we can look at our investment programmes to understand where we can introduce new materials allowing our residents to maintain comfortable temperatures within their homes as efficiently as possible.

Typical fabric improvements would include insulation to the:

  • External wall: additional material (such as mineral board) is added to the outside walls of a property to assist the property in maintaining heat.
  • Cavity wall: thermal beads are injected into the cavity to help retain heat.
  • Internal wall: insulation material is added to the inside walls of a home.
  • Loft: insulating rolls are laid within the loft space to reduce heat loss.
  • Windows and doors: highly efficient units that drastically reduce heat loss through windowpanes and through existing door material.

Once we have completed all feasible fabric improvements, the Group will look to install modern and highly efficient boilers, heat pumps and electric panels that are able to achieve comfortable heating temperatures whilst consuming less fuel.

Both national and regional decarbonisation and net zero plans will have a direct impact on how we deliver our improvement programmes and the advice and support we will need to provide for our residents. To carry out decarbonisation/energy efficiency works, we must assess the requirements of each individual household as well as the thermal performances of their property. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to delivering these types of works, especially when our residents are at the heart of our planning and delivery.

To tackle climate change and to ensure we stay on target to being carbon neutral by 2050, it requires a change to our current lives and mindset. There will naturally be a demand for up-to-date support and advice on various things (from the use of new technology, through to basic energy efficiency advice) and to support this we will be shortly delivering workshops and information drop-in sessions to all our staff to ensure that everyone is able to understand the main concept of decarbonisation and becoming net zero and to also help cut through a lot of misconceptions.    

Having recently announced our successful funding from the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Demonstrator as part of an overall bid with Wychavon District Council, which will see Trident Group invest an overall £2.3 million into the project across 73 of our homes, we will further announce key projects that will help Trident Group to achieve its goal of reducing our carbon footprint.

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