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A chance for the sector to take a lead

Climate change is humanity’s biggest challenge. So, by default this is the housing sector’s biggest challenge. In meeting it, we must make sure that no one is left behind and we cannot start soon enough.

There has been a slow pace of change in the housing sector, especially around technology and innovation. There has been an under- investment in skills and training in this area which requires a long-term solution. Innovative housebuilding is showing real progress but is only scratching the surface when it comes to meeting need. The challenge of improving the energy efficiency of the 25 million-plus homes in UK feels overwhelming.

Right now, making your home more energy efficient is financially challenging for most. We must work hard to ensure that owner occupiers and the private rented sector can find affordable ways to do it. With spiralling energy costs, there is an increasing danger that vulnerable owner occupiers and private renters will be left with unsustainable heating costs. We need a whole system approach to tackling climate change through housing. This is more than just the built form; it is about wider place shaping and linking closely with education and health and utilising technology.

I would call on housing associations in Wales to look at restarting procurement consortia for the
purposes of meeting long-term decarbonisation targets. These regional consortia could look at collaborative procurement, testing of new energy technology, developing training and skills and sharing good practice. Now is the chance for our sector to take a lead on such a crucial issue, showing ambition and not waiting for government to legislate.

Tom Broadhead is chair of the WHQ advisory board and director of business improvement at Melin Homes

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