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Decarbonisation and energy efficiency

As a responsible business, Cottsway is working towards decarbonisation to reduce our impact on the climate. Our focus is on improving the energy efficiency of our homes.

As well as ensuring our new-build homes are as energy efficient as possible, we want to make improvements to existing homes. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, this will help to lower energy bills for our customers – an important factor as high gas and electricity charges and the cost-of-living crisis continues.

The Government has a net zero target for the UK and wants to achieve this by 2050. Policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy, including social housing, are still emerging. We are following Government guidance and will continue to react as needed.

EPCs tell us how energy efficient a home is, from A-rated (very efficient) to G (inefficient). They last for 10 years. 

Nationally, the typical rating for a home is D. The Government has set a target for all social housing properties to have an EPC rating of at least C by 2030.

Around 76% of our homes are rated C or higher, with the remaining 24% of our homes having an EPC rating of D or below.

We have set our own target to ensure that 95% of our properties at least EPC C-rated by March 2028.

More about EPCs
We are required by law to produce an EPC for any homes we have built or re-let since 1 October 2008.

We also carry out EPC and related assessments at occupied homes. It is important that customers give us access to enable us to conduct these surveys, as they help us to plan future energy efficiency upgrades.

You can check your home’s EPC rating at: GOV.UK

To help us meet EPC targets:

  • We have a planned maintenance programme to continue work to improve the performance of our existing homes, such as heating system replacements, window and door replacements, and ad-hoc insulation improvements. We are ensuring our trade workforce is suitably skilled to deliver services on renewable heating technologies.
  • We are working to replace all our remaining oil-fired heating systems with more sustainable solutions by March 2028.
  • Where possible, we are prioritising lower-performing homes that have an EPC of D or lower. We will be working to secure grant funding to help pay for energy efficiency measures to be installed in suitable homes.

There are a variety of energy efficiency measures that could be suitable for the D-rated or lower homes that require action, such as:

  • Installing cavity wall insulation
  • Installing external wall insulation
  • Installing or improving loft insulation
  • Installing solar panels
  • Replacing electric and oil heating with air source heating.

Unfortunately, some older homes can have a range of factors that might prevent some of this work, making it either uneconomical or too logistically troublesome to carry out work.

It can be very costly to make energy efficiency improvements, so we are applying for grants to support this work.

We secured a £1.3m grant from the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) in 2023 and have allocated £1.4m of funding ourselves to improve the energy efficiency of 142 of our older homes most in need of improvement.

Work is continuing on this ‘pathfinder’ project for us and we will use what we are learning from this to help us plan for future work.

As well as improving customers’ homes, we are also identifying ways that we can decarbonise as a business. Work includes:

  • Installing 7kW electric vehicle charging points at our offices in Witney, which are available to all - staff and public.
  • Looking at introducing electric/hybrid vehicles to our fleet of repair vans.

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