Introduction – Technology (IoT) to Monitor Retrofitting in Social Housing
At least 15 million homes need to be retrofitted by 2030 to meet 2050 carbon targets. The same homes would need to have further measures installed again after 2030. Doing this would more than triple the UK’s current rate of energy efficiency installations. While the UK Government’s ambitions are in decarbonising the housing stock – A key target demands that all homes have an EPC rating of B or C by 2030. Consequently, improvements in the performance of the existing stock are central to such policies. In this blog, we explore some of the issues around retrofitting the housing stock within the social housing sector.
What is retrofitting housing?
It is the process of making changes to existing buildings so that energy consumption and emissions are reduced, these changes also provide the benefit of a healthier home with lower energy bills and a more comfortable living environment for the tenant.
What are the barriers to the delivery of retrofit work in social housing?
Just 8% of the 2050 housing stock is expected to be newly built between 2025 and 2050, meaning that decarbonising the housing sector will largely be an exercise in retrofitting. The issue with this is the large scale on which work will need to be delivered to properties successfully and in time.
There are issues in both housing associations and local authorities that make it hard to combine retrofit work with routine property maintenance. These are usually due to separate budgets for each, and often different contracts or persons in place for “improvement” work (including retrofit) and regular maintenance. This can lead to a breakdown in communication between the housing organisation, the contract provider and often leave the tenant in the dark with any issues left unresolved.
The lack of skilled resources available to survey properties is an issue often encountered as data can only be recorded at a single point in time, making trending over time cost prohibitive and missing gaps of useful information as it requires multiple visits. This makes it difficult to prioritise work for those most in need and also adds an additional strain to the housing organisation and tenant relationship.
How can we use technology to monitor work that is carried out on a property?
Sensors are easily installed in properties to take measurements of key areas, which are used to track energy use and energy efficiency by sending data to the CDLSmartHub. This is carried out by using the data to compare before and after any completed works. For example, in the case of wall insulation, our sensors can be used to help prove that the building’s performance has been uplifted after the insulation has been added to a property. The data is used to prove the effectiveness of the retrofitting work and can be consolidated over the entire housing stock being monitored. This data can also be used to improve future programmes by helping social housing providers target areas that are most in need of improvement.
With Caption Data’s smart sensor-based technology such as the CDL Nano-ULTRA Matrix+, social housing organisations can remotely monitor the performance of any retrofitting works that have been carried out. Installation can be carried out quickly and efficiently, sensors can be installed with the minimal amount of training with a minimal amount of impact on the tenant, unlike hard-wired solutions that can take as long as 2 days for one property.
Monitoring before and after the retrofitting has taken place to provide evidence the building performance has been uplifted. This will bring visibility over the tenant’s wellbeing and living conditions, whilst allowing installation procedures to be carried out efficiently.
Traditionally it’s been virtually impossible to ascertain if works carried out have been a success over a short amount of time. Usually, it becomes apparent that works carried out have been unsuccessful when claims for dampness and mould have been made by the tenants, which results in more work to be required on the property, resulting in more money and resources spent fixing a previous problem that could be better allocated on other properties.
With social housing organisations all over the UK under pressure to ensure money is invested in the correct areas, data must be collected to monitor progress and performance.
CDL Smart Technology can be used to monitor the performance of social housing retrofitting programmes, to find out how, contact CDL to book a free discovery call with one of our experts.