Sustainability focus for Housing in 2023

Insights from a social housing provider

A woman standing in front of houses at Grand Union Housing Group

Photo credit: Grand Union (source)

Claire O’Brien is an Environmental Sustainability Manager at Grand Union Housing Group. We asked Claire for her insight into the major themes for sustainability in Housing this year. Here is Claire’s answer from the perspective of a social housing provider.

Getting existing properties net-carbon-zero-ready

From a social housing perspective, our main focus is the retrofit of Grand Union’s existing properties so that all our properties reach EPC band by 2030. The current energy crisis and economic climate has placed additional emphasis on this with customers now actively enquiring about retrofit.

Whilst this is brilliant to see, there are challenges with delivery with regards to funding and skills expertise within the industry. Many local authorities and social housing providers will have recently applied for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Funding Wave 2, and may have already been awarded through Wave 1 and are now delivering retrofit works. 

Linked to this, we’ll be doing work on engagement with customers around sustainability and retrofit to ensure a customer-friendly journey when work is completed. As much as customers are enquiring about retrofit works, there are customers who may be resistant to change.

Sustainable new builds

With regards to new builds, I suspect that the sector will start to see more demand from customers that the homes are energy efficient in direct response to the energy / cost of living crisis. The challenges here will be how that is delivered cost efficiently, as new tech costs tend to be high and the industry has seen price increases since Covid.

Another challenge is the reporting of sustainability linked to our net zero pledges, so making sure that we are reporting on scope 1, 2 and 3, and that quality data is readily available.

At Ad Esse, we champion performance improvement and for many organisations, sustainability is a significant and urgent area for improvement. If you have any questions about sustainability in Housing, or would like to share advice, get in touch. Email We’ll share your relevant questions & thoughts with our network.