SHDF Wave 3: the importance of overcoming resident perceptions

  18 April, 2024      Company UpdatesCore ValuesIndustry Insights
SHDF Wave 3: the importance of overcoming resident perceptions

With the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 3 expected to open for applications this summer, our Business Development and Marketing Director Claire Bailey-Jones discusses resident perceptions of the scheme and how these can be addressed to ensure its success.

Climate change remains one of the biggest talking points of our time, and the urgency of addressing this issue has pushed the government, local authorities and community organisations to seek out sustainable solutions for both new and existing homes. Low carbon retrofitting is one such solution, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by creating more energy efficient homes.

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) plays a crucial role in addressing carbon emissions across social housing, and is vital for securing a sustainable future for the sector – so it’s important to get residents on board.

SHDF Wave 3

Recognising the importance of ensuring all members of society have access to energy efficient housing, the SHDF offers financial support to social housing providers to implement measures such as insulation, heating system upgrades, and renewable energy installations.

Wave 3 of the scheme is set to be the biggest yet, with £1.25 billion confirmed for 2025-2028. Applications are expected to open over the coming months ready for work through the scheme to begin in February 2025.

Following feedback from previous work completed through the SHDF, Wave 3 will offer greater flexibility in how local authorities and social housing landlords can apply for and access funding. Our Sustain service provides a one-stop-shop for the identification, application and delivery of SHDF work through a partnership approach comprising our team of in-house experts and external partners.

Resident perceptions and motivational factors

Our experience in the practical delivery of SHDF schemes has shown resident perception to be varied – while there is a general understanding of the importance of helping the planet, there is still a lack of engagement in this area.

Residents also welcome the idea of a warmer home that costs less to heat, but often regard the process as inconvenient. Decarbonisation works by nature involve some levels of disruption and intrusion and, unlike the excitement of a new kitchen or bathroom, energy efficiency works may lack any initial tangible and aesthetic results.

With this in mind, the consideration of residents’ motivational factors is key to challenging negative perceptions. The main driving force remains financial, particularly the prospect of reduced energy bills – although this is difficult to quantify upfront.

General improvements to living conditions is another motivation for residents to accept SHDF work. Here at Novus, we’ve received positive post-upgrade feedback including homes feeling warmer, the absence of mould, noise reduction, and feeling safer due to new windows and doors.

The importance of communication

Emphasising these tangible benefits is vital for increasing engagement and ultimately encouraging buy-in from residents. ‘Real life’ examples and neighbours advocating for the work they’ve had done are particularly valuable, and our team noted a significant number of residents who opted out of SHDF Wave 1 improvements ask to be included in Wave 2 works.

Ultimately, ensuring resident satisfaction is key to growing acceptance for energy efficiency improvement works – and transparency and communication at all stages is an essential element of this. Social housing providers and contractors must both be open to learning from previous challenges to help streamline the process for Wave 3 and unlock the immense potential of low carbon retrofitting for creating sustainable homes for the future.

Get in touch to find out more about our Sustain service.

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