What we are doing
The Council owns over 6000 homes and many will need to be retrofit to meet our target of net zero by 2030. In 2022, the REMeDY project found that more than a third of the Council’s own emissions came from our housing stock.
Central Government has also set its own targets that the Council will need to comply with. These targets propose that all social housing should reach EPC C by 2030 and be net zero by 2050. Around a third of the Councils housing stock is below EPC C and so will need retrofit this decade.
Each property is different and so will have its own path to reach net zero. The Council will need to consider a wide range of options to meet these targets and commit to their retrofit. So we will aim to make the most of any external grants that are available for retrofit and use innovative solutions where we can.
Retrofit Action Plan:
Officers from Southend Council and South Essex Homes meet monthly to work through a retrofit action plan. This has been designed to outline the actions that the Council needs to take to lower emissions in its housing stock.
Between 2021-22, we:
- Added loft insulation and LED lighting upgrades on 75 homes,
- Completed 56 additional EPCs to improve our data,
- Have upskilled staff to become Retrofit Assessor qualified,
- A trial of Endotherm at one of our sheltered schemes has predicted savings of 13% on energy costs.
Using grant funding that we won from the Local government Association’s Housing Advisors programme we worked with Parity Projects. They built an interactive database that will help us model retrofit programmes and understand our data better. Parity Projects will be vital to understand the positives and negatives of retrofit. We can also use this to help prioritise our least efficient homes first.
Retrofit show home:
The Council is currently looking to create a retrofit show home. The home will be open to the public and showcase the benefits and challenges that different energy efficiency measures bring. More information on this project will be available later this year.
The Council was successful in bidding for £1.15 million of Government funding to insulate some of our most inefficient homes.
The work will reduce the energy demand of some of the Council’s least insulated homes by using:
- external wall insulation
- loft insulation,
- improved glazing,
- energy efficient lighting,
- draught proofing,
- ventilation improvements.
This will cost £2.3m overall as the Council will provide half the cost as match funding.
Following the works, these homes will reach an EPC rating of C. All works will be delivered to the PAS 2035 standard to ensure that the works are of a high quality.
As well as improving our current stock, the Council also needs to ensure that new builds are as sustainable as possible. We want to lead by example and demonstrate to developers the need for sustainable housing.
Last year, the Council built four new family homes on a disused garage site in Shoebury. These homes included two units that were defined as Net Zero via their EPCs. The homes used high levels of insulation, solar panels and timber frame construction to achieve high efficiency standards. The project also included an offsite toilet block for local allotment holders.
This project was highly commended in the Climate Change category at the Essex Housing awards.
Housing Revenue Account phase 3 and 4:
The Council has planning permission to build the following schemes. Phase 3a and b will be in Eagle Way and Anson Chase in Shoeburyness. Phase 4 will be in Lundy Close, St Laurence ward. We are now in the process of securing a contractor. These projects will see:
- 12 houses and 1 bungalow,
- 16 flats will follow in phase 3b.
- 5 houses and 4 flats.
The sites will include:
- Built to the Future Homes Standard 2025 and be SAP Net Zero carbon.
- Heat and hot water will come from heat pumps as these homes will be off gas.
- Enhanced biodiversity through options such as swift boxes, hedgehog and badger bypasses and green roof cycle storage.
- The design will consider overheating.
- Electric vehicle charging, in line with Council planning.
- Smart or occupancy heat controls.
A disused garage site is being looked at as an option to deliver an HMO property. This would be built using modern methods of construction. This means that a lot of the home will be built offsite and assembled onsite. The unit will also be net zero carbon.
We are looking at other ways to improve the sustainability of our new builds in future phases. This involves exploring the use of Passivhaus which helps to create very low energy buildings. We are also looking at ways to enhance biodiversity and sustainable drainage on our sites.