Safe as houses: sustainability of the social housing sector

This report looked at the main sustainability issues in housing and provided evidence that environmental accreditation enhances performance in terms of sustainability and climate action. The social housing sector is undergoing major changes and sustainability has been frequently side-lined – but being sustainable impacts on decisions by investors and sustainable organisations are best placed to provide the safe, sustainable homes that is so desperately needed.

The study found that:

  • Overall the sector is 49% sustainable – the figure describes how close the sector is to meeting science based targets. 100% would indicate that sustainable targets are being met
  • The energy efficiency of homes is at 78% of what is needed to ensure carbon emissions are in line with UK climate change targets
  • Progress has been made by multi-tenure landlords on reducing emissions from their offices and fleet. However these savings are dwarfed by their Scope 3 emissions, which arise from housing stock, business travel, commuting, procurement and third party services. These emissions comprise 99.4% of the total and do not yet show signs of declining
  • The research reveals for the first time that the social housing sector is failing to decouple carbon emissions from financial growth
  • Multi-tenure landlords that have undergone environmental accreditation outperform other tenures in most categories including energy efficiency of homes, sustainable transport and overheating risk.