There are around 4 million UK households in fuel poverty, who find it hard to heat their homes due to low incomes, high fuel bills and hard-to-heat homes. This has consequences for the health of the residents and society.
Yet energy efficiency programmes have reduced in scale, even as the urgency of interventions becomes clearer.
- We are in mental health emergency. Living in a cold home can cause or exacerbate mental and physical health problems.
- The NHS budget is under pressure. Healthier people cost the NHS less.
To date, too many programmes have applied a sticking plaster measure to the obvious causes such as uninsulated walls or lofts. But we know that homes need treating in their entirety.
The challenge is how to do that when faced with a whole nation of leaky homes. Never one to shy away from an analogy, let’s look at how Parity Projects can help you make your housing stock healthier…
In A&E, the triage process assesses all needs before prioritising resources for those with the greatest need and those who would most benefit. The process continuously reviews the balance of need and benefit in light of changing events, and is needed due to limitations in time, money and resources.
Those same limitations apply to the retrofit challenge. We have a deadline. Money remains a constant uncertainty. And skilled resources are currently limited. Yet there are still relatively few landlords and local authorities taking a systematic approach to reviewing the health of their housing and diagnosing treatment.
Preparing the diagnosis
Whether your stock numbers 4,000 or 4 million, our software can diagnose the most cost-efficient way to improve each home’s health.
- Identify the patient.
- We load all your available data on the energy performance of the property, not just an EPC.
- Make an assessment
- Our tool reports on the baseline performance, for a single property, for the whole stock, or a group of properties identified by age, SAP rating, type or other indicator(s)
- Data quality is managed through version control with a confidence rating set for every data point.
- We then test up to 2,400 interventions to identify the optimum treatment for the long-term health of the property (and planet), not just a sticking plaster.
- Prioritise by need
- Different clients will have different priorities, in terms of SAP rating, CO2 emissions or fuel poverty. We can handle that. Our users can report on the stock performance against one or more of these targets, taking into account secondary factors such as cost and other needs, and identify the homes to prioritise for intervention.
- Track the patients’ progress through the triage process.
- Where once we provided one-off reports, we assessed our clients’ needs and moved on to define a cloud-based service which allows users to continuously update data and plans, as measures are installed, corporate targets (and budgets) change, and surveyors submit new data.
Treating the worst first
As with A&E, the optimum approach to retrofitting the nation’s homes is to treat the worst first. There is no long-term financial benefit to edging homes up from SAP F&G to E, instead of investing to get them straight up to SAP C. In fact there is a cost if measures are installed that later have to be undone to get the full job done. Our software prepares a whole house plan, which can be installed in increments.
But, also as in A&E, we need to recognise what cannot be done, as much as what can be done. We cannot bring every home up to SAP A, or zero carbon, with onsite measures. Every home is different and diagnosis and treatment plans need to reflect that. We will need complementary interventions to ensure that the hardest-to-heat rental homes do not end up out of the hands of the more responsible landlords, and housing our most vulnerable citizens. Our software helps those responsible for housing understand those limitations and start addressing this policy gap, because sustainable development requires us all to consider the social implications alongside the economic and environmental opportunities and challenges.
If you are a local authority or landlord wishing to address fuel poverty in your stock, here is your prescription for a no-obligations demo of our software.