News & Stories

Our next three years to sustainability

This week is Net Zero Week, a week to highlight the importance of our impact on the planet in everything that we do as a business.

As a company, North Devon Homes (NDH) have been working hard to set our goals for being a more sustainable housing provider over the next three years as part of our latest Corporate Plan release.

You can watch our Corporate Plan video here with everything NDH has planned:

We are proud to say that we recently won an award, placing in the top 15 for being a sustainable housing provider in the UK for the work we have already been doing and the partnerships we are building to help keep us on track to NetZero.

We take sustainability to mean more than just helping the environment. We are a community landlord and so our sustainability promise goes to our customers as well. The work we do with our customers on their tenancy sustainability all plays a bigger part in the environmental impact. If we can sustain a tenancy by helping customers manage their finances or by supporting them as a family with a young person we can ensure they continue to have a safe and warm home to live in. This strategy also then in turn helps us to reduce turnover in our homes, reducing costs and emissions among other benefits. We look at the wider picture in everything we do.

We believe that partnership working will go a long way to help reduce the wider impact on the environment. We evidence this with our Advantage South West (ASW) group where 17 housing associations and members across the South West have joined together to help improve their procurement programmes. By working together on sourcing materials, new home schemes, eco projects and even skills and training we can combine and lower the carbon impact for our 250,000 homes between us.

We recently completed a 2-home project to deliver a whole house retrofit. ZEBCat (Zero Energy Buildings Catalyst) aims to reduce energy demand to almost zero, significantly reducing customer bills, whilst providing consistent temperatures all year round. The project demonstrates the EnergieSprong approach to building and is part of a larger project in collaboration with Devon County Council and other housing associations.

We have also run many schemes for experimental heating systems; we were the first in the UK to use Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries without solar PV only charged from the grid. This scheme selected 8 properties to have a Tesla battery installation which tops itself up on off-peak tariffs and discharges during the daytime rate. Customers should see them save circa £300 per annum on billing.

It isn’t just our housing that has had a makeover though! Our regular newsletter mailings to customers are now carbon balanced by using a World Land Trust provider with recycled paper, carbon offset inks and printers and eco-friendly sugar cane poly bags that can be recycled in your food waste. We’re working hard to implement new digital systems to help us provide more digital and flexible services.

The pandemic has had a big impact on our environmental impact too and by allowing a more flexible approach to working we are planning to lower our emissions by reviewing when and where meetings should be held in person, where in office and travel working is required, and where home working can be utilised to help reduce each member of the team’s impact.

We are currently working with a number of partners on funding, ideas and projects to see where we will go next. As part of our Corporate Plan we have an aim to give all homes in our portfolio a SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) rating of C or above by 2030, which will go a long way towards our Net Zero promise but will also help to improve our customer’s energy bills where their homes currently fall below this rating.