Going green hot topic at Board Excellence in Housing 2020

Conference urges the importance of acting now to meet the UK’s target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

Hand holding a cutout of a house made from greenery



The Green Agenda was one of the main talking points at this year’s Board Excellence in Housing conference.

Speaking on Day One of the NHF-hosted conference, Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the LGA, said to bring down the costs of going zero-carbon – oft cited as a substantial barrier to going green – the sector needs to “work together” to influence the government and its investment programmes.

He added that he expects the next five years to continue “deal-based era”.

Richard Hartwig, Built Environment Lead at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, echoed the sentiment, saying: “The technology is there…the trouble is that it is very expensive.

“We’ve got to talk to the government,” he added, citing that “no one” was talking about the green agenda 18 months ago, but partly through the efforts of housing associations, the green agenda has become a key talking point.

Richard Lupo, managing director of Suss housing, said that there are actually “quite a few” benefits in landlords pursuing environmental policies, but that the initial cost is “a hell of a lot of investment”.

The NHF’s Helen Greig, Project Director of Building Better urged the sector to start thinking more about offsite construction, citing the “stunning figure” that there is 90% less waste in terms of construction.

She said: “Offsite construction is far, far better…offsite homes are better than a lot of traditionally constructed homes…there is a lot less energy leakage…far higher energy efficiency.

“As a sector, we really are one of the best placed to tackle climate change…and we have a lot more incentive to do than housebuilders who just build something and then get rid of it.”

Greig again highlighted the importance of the sector working together to bring down the costs of offsite manufacturing and broaden its adoption.

“The only way we are going to do this is in collaboration,” said Greig, cautioning that the sector needs to spend “the next few years getting it right” before widespread adoption becomes actualised.

“But don’t be afraid of it,” she said.

The UK has set a target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

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