The urgent need for energy efficiency upgrades in the UK’s social housing stock has become increasingly apparent. A review by the Chartered Institute of Housing estimates that there are 1.2 million D-rated social properties in the UK, with approximately 23.1% of their residents living in fuel poverty. While state-funded schemes like the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) aim to support energy upgrades, they are not sufficient to address the scale of the problem.
One significant challenge has been that the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) has not offered a substantial level of support to the social housing sector. The fabric-led obligation of ECO4 has primarily targeted the private sector and lower-performing properties rated E-G.
However, ECO4 Fabric Innovation Measures are poised to transform the landscape of energy efficiency upgrades for social housing providers. These measures, registered by Ofgem, can be applied to D-rated properties, representing a breakthrough for ECO4 upgrades at scale. Innovation measures under ECO4 promote community-wide and place-based approaches, offering beneficiaries a funding uplift of either 25% or 45% compared to standard measures.
Leading the way in this field, Soltherm has introduced two Ofgem-recognised solid wall insulation Innovation Measures. The Soltherm 75 system, with its remarkable 75-year life expectancy, is gaining wide adoption by Registered Providers (RPs) under ECO4. This system can be installed on D-rated properties, including those that are hard to treat, system-built, and solid wall properties, making it more feasible than ever to achieve the target of 22,000 solid wall installations per annum.
Steve Gapik, Managing Director at Soltherm, expressed enthusiasm for the positive impact of their innovation systems, saying, “We’re thrilled to be able to help make a difference through our innovation systems. Social housing must be at the core of ECO4 for it to deliver its ambition and contribute to the decarbonisation of the UK’s housing stock. It’s great that we can use our technology to help improve people’s lives while also taking meaningful steps towards decarbonising our homes.”
ECO4 Fabric Innovation Measures represent a crucial solution that promises to revolutionise how energy efficiency upgrades are approached in social housing. With these measures available for installation on D-rated properties, there is now a tangible opportunity to address fuel poverty and create positive changes in vulnerable communities across the UK.