Broadacres Housing Association in North Yorkshire is leading the way for sustainability in the region after committing to become net-zero by 2050.
It’s one of six million UK SMEs that could help to achieve half of the UK’s net-zero decarbonisation goals, according to NatWest’s Springboard to Sustainability Report, which was launched to explore the UK’s business sector in the wake of Covid-19.
The report also found that with the right funding, knowledge and training, SMEs could create up to 130,000 new jobs and produce around 30,000 new businesses resulting in an estimated £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy.
Northallerton-based Broadacres, which launched in 1993 and now manages 6,500 homes in the area, announced it had received an £80million funding package from NatWest in August last year.
These funds will allow Broadacres to increase their work in improving the energy efficiency of their homes. Broadacres currently has an ambitious programme of installing air source heat pumps in homes, with 630 homes heated using this this low carbon technology, 120 of these systems installed since April 2021.
Central and hot water heating accounts for approximately 20 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, meaning, as well as reducing its homes’ carbon footprint, these changes could also help to reduce its resident’s energy bills by up to £375 a year.
As it looks to the future, Broadacres will work with its tenants to ensure they are on the most cost-effective energy tariffs and have been given advice and guidance on how to use the new heating systems installed.
A total of 14 staff have also taken part in Carbon Literacy Training and the not-for-profit plans to roll out these courses monthly to more colleagues by March 2022, allowing them to become a certified ‘Carbon Literate Organisation’.
The housing association also has 1,821 properties with a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) score lower than 69 and is working to ensure these properties move to above 69 by 2028. SAP is the Government’s recommended system for measuring the energy rating of residential dwellings, helping to compare the energy performance of different homes. A higher SAP rating indicates lower energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
David Smith, executive director at Broadacres Housing Association, said: “It has always been our ambition to make our properties more sustainable, but rolling out the heat pumps across our stock has been a double success because they also aid tenants with affording the costs of energy bills.
“For us, the key to achieving our climate change ambitions is to upskill both our employees and tenants, which is why we have taken part in Carbon Literacy Training and are taking the time to ensure our customers understand how to use their new heating systems so that they can get the best out of them. By encouraging others, including NatWest, to support our efforts, we’re making huge strides with our plans.”
David Horne, director of Housing Finance at NatWest, said: “Climate change is the biggest issue facing our world today, threatening lives and livelihoods across all spheres of society and NatWest’s ambition is to be a leading bank in helping tackle this together. We have had a long-term partnership with Broadacres, and it is fantastic to see the team move forward with its climate change plans, while also helping its tenants save money and live affordably.
“As our recent Springboard to Sustainability report illustrates, the role of SME’s is vital if the UK is to meet its decarbonisation targets, so it’s fantastic to partner with like-minded businesses to ensure sustainability is at the forefront of business agendas in 2022 and beyond.”