November 28, 2016


  • SHIFT Awards celebrate leaders in sustainability in the housing sector

Over 230 housing and sustainability professionals came together on the 24th November in London to celebrate outstanding achievements in sustainability at the SHIFT Awards 2016, the sustainability awards for the housing sector.

Hosted by Marcus Brigstocke and with the support of headline sponsors Willmott Dixon Energy Services, this year’s SHIFT Awards were bigger and broader than ever, recognising not only the achievements of SHIFT accredited landlords but the wider housing sector. The nominees and winners represent the leading  performers in energy efficiency, lean and sustainable business and the delivery of affordable homes.

The awards are timely. Despite regulatory and financial uncertainty in the UK, the historical Paris Agreement reinforced the Government’s commitment to accelerate global action on climate change and the vital role that the housing sector has to play in achieving such ambitious goals.

The Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy,  Shirley Rodrigues who delivered a forward looking keynote speech said: “Delivering more resilient, sustainable and energy efficient homes is a top priority in London and these awards highlight the innovative ways housing agencies are reducing their environmental impact and lowering carbon emissions.”

Across 12 categories and two Dragons’ Den pitches, this year’s event received an outstanding response, demonstrating that the drive to improve environmental performance is still going strong. 47 organisations were shortlisted for 14 awards, including five awards presented to organisations that had achieved ‘best in class’ in the SHIFT sustainability standard that has been independently assessed.  For the first time three of the awards were voted live by the audience, with six organisations presenting their pitches for the two Dragons’ Den categories. 43 social landlords were also awarded their SHIFT Accreditation following this year’s sustainability assessment and benchmarking.

“The SHIFT Awards 2016 really did showcase the best in the sector – not just in terms of the entries, but in the quality and effort of those who attended, whether they were a Dragons’ Den pitcher or a Best in Class winner.” said Bevan Jones, Managing Director of Sustainable Homes.

“These awards clearly demonstrate that sustainability is not dead and that it has a major role in creating better homes and businesses whilst enhancing people’s lives. What we must do now is harness the energy and ideas from this event to improve policy and practice within housing and sustainability. We can’t wait to host the awards next year when we think we’ll see even more leadership and enthusiasm from the sector”

Here are the 2016 winners

Best Retrofit Project Award

Winner: The Greater London Authority

‘RE:NEW’ – London’s city-wide retrofit programme has played a crucial role in achieving the Mayor’s 2050 Zero Carbon target. It has helped 89 organisations improve over 16,000 homes, cutting 16,400 tonnes of carbon and moving thousands of homes out of fuel poverty. The catalytic nature of this scheme also saw engagement with the supply chain, and helped them maximise social and environmental benefits.

Highly commended: British Gas

Best New Build Project Award

Winner: A2Dominion

A2Dominion’s NW Bicester is a pioneering demonstration of the sustainable community of the future. The Masterplan will deliver 6,000 zero carbon homes and create a vibrant town with schools, community farms, commercial spaces and a country park. The first phase was launched with 91 new homes in 2015 and became one of the 11 communities worldwide to have been awarded Bioregional’s One Planet Community.

Highly commended: First Wessex

The Lean & Green Award

Winner: Broadland Housing

By taking a holistic approach to sustainability, Broadland was able to breathe fresh air into this 1970s scheme.  This effective cross-team project saw installation of new doors and windows, heating systems, lighting and extensive engagement with residents. Since the completion of the project, Broadland has seen a reduction in the number of void properties, administration costs and anti-social behaviour. They are planning to pass the savings onto the residents by reducing service charges by 15%.

Highly commended: Yorkshire Housing

Best Resident Engagement on Energy Savings Award

Winner: First Wessex

An outstanding example of what targeted initiatives can achieve, First Wessex’s Green Living programme promotes a wide range of sustainable behaviours with residents. This programme is carried out by in-house advisors who are equipped with tailor-made apps to deliver the best care and advice to First Wessex’s customers.  Using the social value model, the social ROI was calculated at £37.98 per pound spent.

Highly commended: AmicusHorizon

Sustainable Supplier of the Year

Winner: Paint 360

Paint360 is a fast-growing, innovative company that re-engineers waste paint into brand new paint specifically for the housing sector, saving on carbon to make paint along with water, minerals and energy to prepare them. They work with contractors to encourage the use of recycled materials and they are committed to generating social value for their local area- they helped 16 young people in to work so far, with plans for an additional 18 to join their great team next year.

Highly commended: Axis

Sustainability Champion of the Year

Winner: Brody Isaac | Sustainability Manager | Viridian

Brody has helped 100s of residents through energy advice and home improvements to reduce fuel poverty, eliminated F&G rated stock in Viridian and unified the organisation in implementing sustainability.

Best Housing Provider of the Year

Winner: Catalyst Housing

Being sustainable is key to Catalyst’s business. They believe in practicing what they preach, and the customers are more likely to follow their sustainable approach. They support residents and staff with their in-house sustainability team, and manage to stay personal and tailored while offering wide-ranging services. Their aim is to enable their communities to enjoy a quality and sustainable life – and as evidenced by their Gold SHIFT status for the past four years they are certainly succeeding.

Highly commended: Viridian Housing

SHIFT Best in Class Categories

The following categories assess the overall sustainability of four different areas of operation of SHIFT landlords.

SHIFT best in class: Strategy & Management

Winner: Viridian Housing

Highly commended: Isos Housing

SHIFT best in class: Existing Homes

Winner: Broadland Housing

Highly commended: Viridian Housing

SHIFT best in class: Offices & Operations

Winner: Catalyst Housing

Highly commended: Isos Housing

SHIFT best in class: New Build

Winner: Hexagon

Highly commended: Swan Housing Association

SHIFT best in class: Most Improved

Winner: Plus Dane Housing

Highly commended: Isos Housing

Dragons’ Den – Best Policy Proposal

Winner: Andy Deacon and Mark Routley, Future Climate and TLT

Pepperpotted leaseholders can be a major headache for energy efficiency refurbishment programmes of social housing blocks. Depending on lease terms, leaseholders can often block improvement programmes altogether and dealing with leaseholders can add to the costs of refits. Much of the problem can be attributed to England and Wales’ arcane freehold/leasehold law. A unique coalition has come together to address the situation: developing workable and practicable legal solutions that will allow social housing freeholders to proceed with reasonable energy efficiency improvements. The key is to convince government that proposals for legal change are robust and credible. DCLG and DBEIS are interested and they’ve worked on a campaign with MPs through the private members ballot.

Dragons’ Den – Best Sustainability Project Proposal

Jo Goodman and Emdadul Islam, Bromley By Bow Centre

The Empower project aims to transform social housing residents’ relationships with their energy consumption by putting the power in their hands. Residents undertake accredited training to become Energy Champions, learning not only how to take control of their own energy costs, but enabling them to act as seeds of change in their communities. Using co-production methodologies, Champions work in partnership with their housing provider to create initiatives to reach out to other residents. In addition to this, the project supports the Champions to develop transferable skills and enhance their employability, helping them to build a better future.


The event also celebrated the achievements of the SHIFT Landlords who had undergone accreditation this year. 43 social landlords underwent the assessment, demonstrating the work they have been doing to improve the environmental performance of their homes and their organisation.