Decarbonisation and tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges currently facing housing providers and LYHA is firmly committed to being proactive in this area: both by delivering energy efficient, new homes that don’t rely on fossil fuels, and retrofitting our existing homes to ensure that they are as energy efficient and affordable to run as possible.
We are about to embark on an extensive carbon foot-printing exercise, together with three other local housing associations, South Yorkshire, Connect and Arches. This will involve looking at all our existing properties and how we operate as a business, then creating a decarbonisation plan to achieve our energy efficiency targets. We will also update EPC data as part of our stock condition surveys over the next 5 years to use as a baseline for measuring improvements.
We are currently working on an exciting project with the Leeds Beckett University Sustainability Institute, who are renting two of our homes, on Bayswater Grove in Leeds, to trial different types of retrofitting products, such as floor insulation, and monitoring their different impacts on energy efficiency. Once they have trialled some different methods of improving energy efficiency, they are retaining one of our homes to undertake a full house retrofit which will deliver a much more energy efficient home with lower running costs for the customer.
When it comes to new homes, we are keen to use renewable energy sources for heating and hot water rather than fossil fuels. We are installing air source heat pumps in one new development and are looking at connecting into the Leeds District Heating Network on another site. We are working closely with partners to enhance the specification and reduce the running costs for future customers. Our recently completed homes in East Ardsley near Morley are an excellent example of this. The homes have been built with solar panels and external charging points for electric vehicles and have an EPC rating of 96 (out of a maximum 100), so should have very low running costs.