The social housing sector has identified that photovoltaics (PV) and water-saving devices are the most popular choices of sustainable technology, research has found…
Almost two-thirds of housing associations surveyed had experience of at least one type of sustainable technology and around three-quarters said they would use PV products and water-saving technologies again, according to a new NHBC Foundation report.
The report, called ‘Sustainable technologies – the experience of Housing Associations’, found that low-flush toilets, low-flow taps and showers were now fairly standard in new homes and that between 50 and 60 per cent respondents expected to use MVHR (mechanical ventilation and heat recovery) and solar thermal hot water in the future.
However, at least a third of respondents admitted they would avoid using devices such as ground source heat pumps, exhaust air heat pumps, greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting.
Neil Smith, head of research and innovation at NHBC, said: “Much progress has been made by the house-building industry to address environmental issues, particularly in relation to improving energy and water efficiency.
“The social housing sector has led the way in the use of sustainable technologies. Because of their ownership and management of significant portfolios of high-Code-level sustainable homes, housing associations have been in a position to gain experience of the installation, performance and resident satisfaction with the various technologies.”
Other key points included:
- Two-thirds of housing associations said the main reason for choosing which specific technology to install was the up-front cost of installation; maintenance costs were also high on the priority list;
- Over half consider ease of resident use as an import factor, but only 19 per cent considered the technology’s payback term to be a key influencing factor;
- Inadequate installation was one of the biggest issues, with two-thirds of housing associations experiencing problems due to a lack of skilled or experienced trades;
- 43 per cent of those surveyed said that benefitting tenants and reducing their fuel poverty was one of the biggest drivers for installing the technology;
- 81 per cent perceived that residents had benefitted from reduced energy bills, and almost a quarter cited better air quality.