Catalyst is one of the leading housing associations in London and the South East. We are an award-winning developer and manage more than 22,000 homes for people on a range of incomes – from social, affordable and intermediate rented homes, to sheltered housing, shared ownership as well as homes for outright sale.
Excess humidity, damp and mould growth is present in almost half of UK homes, with severe cases affecting over 598,000 properties. A significant majority of these belong to social housing providers for whom this is a long standing problem, and the costs are substantial.
Using Passivhaus design principles for new build homes and refurbishment can dramatically reduce carbon emissions, cut residents’ fuel bills and improve general health and wellbeing. But what are Passivhaus principles? What’s involved? What are the costs? What are the benefits to the landlord? Sustainable Homes has been alerted to a resource that may help with getting these questions answered. What’s especially useful is that the resources is free and comes in CPD format, so will be useful to building professionals.
Now more than ever we need to be building new homes. The UK Government has set the ambitious target to build one million homes by 2020, this means building a minimum of 250,000 new homes per year; an uplift of over 100,000 homes. This represents a huge challenge for the sector.
The mood music for retrofit, and in particular solid wall insulation, has not been good of late. Issues have flared up with some installations not performing, sometimes even causing additional problems. The Government’s chief construction adviser was commissioned to report for industry. Peter Bonfield is investigating issues of consumer protection.
Housing associations gathered last week in Manchester to celebrate outstanding achievement in sustainability. The SHIFT Awards are the UK’s sustainability awards for landlords, recognising achievements in reducing environmental impacts, lowering costs and improving the quality of life for their residents.
Evidencing sustainability credentials is becoming increasingly important to businesses. Companies who have a plan to deal with climate change, which place sustainability at the core of their business and who report regularly on their progress usually outperform those who do not.
This is a key time for the social housing sector. Shaped with the regulatory uncertainty and recent budget and funding cuts, the highest priority for the sector is to ensure it is prepared for the future.
I’m sure we can all think of a time when we have lived or stayed in a cold house. The memory of stiff limbs and visible breath can leave few people in doubt that living in a cold home can have serious impacts on the health of residents. Understandably, there have been growing calls to improve the energy efficiency and air-tightness of our homes to prevent heat loss and improve the quality of our homes. This is fantastic, but what about the risks associated with the warm, damp homes that this process could produce? There is a growing body of evidence linking homes with higher SAP values to increased instances of asthma.
Northward Housing Group are now accredited as one of the top six most sustainable landlords in the country. We asked them what process they went through to get there, which areas they focused on, and what were some of the challenges. The following is a summary. We thought that might be of interest.