Housing associations could save more than £2m a year by increasing the energy efficiency of their housing stock. Research looking at 25 social landlords that together manage some 500,000 homes, found savings could come from a number of areas, notably reductions in voids and rent arrears. The study concluded that a 10,000 home provider could save some £2.4m annually if they upgraded their stock from an average SAP rating of 65 to 75.
The research, carried out by consultant Sustainable Homes, concluded that:
- There is a correlation between energy efficiency of homes and number of void days. As homes become more energy efficient they are void for a shorter length of time – on average, 31% shorter for homes with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of B, compared to those with the lowest ratings of E and F
- Landlords with more energy efficient stock spend less on refurbishing void homes, repairs and staff time to manage voids
- Residents in highest performing EPC A rated homes spent 30% less time in arrears, compared with those in the worst performing homes. Colder homes, especially F rated, have on average two weeks more rent arrears a year than more energy efficient homes
- Other cost savings identified include time spent seeking overdue rent payment, legal costs and court costs, which decline by around 35% for more energy efficient homes.
Lord Matthew Taylor, the Liberal Democrat peer and former chair of the National Housing Federation, said, “We know that residents really value high quality homes that are affordable to run, and above all comfortable to live in. By investing in better, more energy efficient homes we can have a material impact on lowering fuel bills, reducing rent arrears, addressing voids and improving the bottom line for social landlords”.
The report, Touching the voids: the impact of energy efficiency on social landlord income and business plans, can be downloaded here.