Social housing is similar to council housing but is maintained by not-for-profit organisations that own, manage and rent their portfolio of properties directly to eligible people based on their circumstances.
Social homes are designed to be accessible to people who need them most, offer secure tenancy agreements with protection from eviction and are more affordable than private rentals as rent prices are determined by local incomes.
As the number of council houses has dwindled due to the right-to-buy scheme and lack of new council housing or affordable homes being built, the demand for social housing is ever increasing.
It is estimated that there are over 1 million households currently on waiting lists for social housing in England alone. With high demand and lack of homes available, housing associations are struggling to meet demand and provide high-quality, energy-efficient homes for those in need.
A characteristic of social housing is that it should be energy-efficient, well-insulated and provide a safe and secure environment for the social tenant. As with all low-income groups, the risk of fuel poverty and associated mental and physical health issues by poor standards of living is high.
The energy efficiency of social housing
Housing associations and social housing providers need to manage their portfolios of housing stock properly to be able to fully understand the energy efficiency and thermal performance of the houses they are providing.
Having poorly insulated homes, low-performance windows & doors, inefficient or outdated boilers and low levels of airtightness will inevitably lead to high energy costs for the tenant, poor indoor air quality, the potential for mould growth and a generally low standard of living.
More often than not, social housing tenants are on pre-payment meters that typically have higher per unit energy costs than other tariffs. Ensuring efficient thermal performance is one of the highest factors in helping to alleviate fuel poverty.
Build Test Solutions portfolio of building performance solutions can help any housing provider to measure the energy efficiency of their housing stock quickly and cost-effectively. Specifically, measuring thermal performance and airtightness can determine priorities over what particular assets to retrofit.