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£1.8bn for social housing and public sector buildings

By: Kelly Bellerson
Press Release

The Government has granted £1.8 billion to social housing and public sector buildings to help fund vital energy efficiency upgrades.

Funding from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Home Upgrade Grant, and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will be rolled out from April 2023 over the next two years.

What is the funding for?

Each scheme has been set up by the Government to help social housing and public sector buildings reduce their carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.

The £1.8 billion has been awarded to these buildings through schemes – where successful applicants are now entitled to a share of the funding.

It is hoped that the grant will provide a financial lifeline for these sectors to undertake necessary improvement works in a time where energy prices are at their peak.

Who is entitled to the fund?

Local authorities, social housing providers, and charities will receive a share of £1.4 billion to help implement energy efficiency measures. This means that over 115,000 properties will be able to upgrade their buildings.

Schools, hospitals, and other public sector properties, including museums and universities, will also be allocated £409 million of funding in a bid to reduce their carbon emissions through improvement works.

Energy upgrades in a nutshell

These schemes allow for a number of energy cutting measures to be put in place ranging from cavity wall insulation, exterior wall insulation, and loft insulation to heat pumps, new windows/doors/draught-proofing measures, and solar panelling.

Improving heating systems powered by renewable energy is cleaner and cheaper, reducing the public’s reliance on expensive fossil fuels. The switch also helps the wider goal of tackling climate change and reducing the UK’s offset of carbon emissions.

Energy upgrades ensure that the building is up to date with the latest Government legislations (such as the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) and helps to prevent costly defects arising later on.

How will the funds be distributed?

Together, the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Home Upgrade Fund are worth £1.4 billion.

However, the Government recently announced an additional £1.1 billion fund match for social housing providers, charities, and social housing provided by local authorities.

This brings the total amount up to £2.5 billion to ensure private and social homes can successfully apply energy upgrades where required.

Vulnerable households and off-gas-grid properties with an EPC rating of D or below have been outlined as a priority for the funding.

Additionally, through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, £409 million has been granted to public sector buildings to help lower their carbon emissions too.

How does this help?

The aim is to help social housing and public sector buildings improve their property by funding energy efficiency upgrade works, focusing on the country’s poorest quality households with EPC ratings between D and G – supporting an estimated 7,000 jobs.

It has also been stated that the schemes could support around 20,000 jobs in the construction and retrofit sectors alone.

The benefits of ensuring your property is as energy efficient as possible include; reduced energy bills and improved running costs, equating to savings of around £200 – £400 on bills annually.

Under the right upgrades, properties will see mass improvement in the building’s functionality and fewer defects – meaning no extra spending on issues such as damp or mould.

A net zero target of 2050 has been outlined by the Government, which they are keen to reach, and the built environment is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

So, by improving the energy efficiency of properties in the built environment sector, they are helping to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions as a whole.

More about the scheme

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund
Wave one of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund opened in August 2021, followed by wave 2.1 in August 2022.

Successful applicants of wave 2.1 have now been informed, with the Government offering 107 projects a share of £778 million.

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, set up by the Government, is a scheme which aims to help the social housing market improve their EPC ratings to a minimum of C.

Home Upgrade Grant
Supporting over 25,000 households, The Home Upgrade Grant is a scheme designed to fund low-income/off-gas-grid homes with an EPC rating between D – G upgrade their property’s energy performance.

The grant focuses on reducing fuel poverty and helping the Government close in on their net zero 2050 goal. The funding covers a number of measures and is available through local authorities.

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
Phase one of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme saw £1 billion provided to public sector buildings for energy efficiency upgrades over the course of the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 financial years. The Government hope to reduce emissions from public sector buildings by 75% before 2037.

Each scheme forms part of the Government’s plan to reduce the country’s overall energy demand by 15% by 2030, in addition to supporting the UK’s move towards energy independence.

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