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  • Date: 23/10/2023

Honeycomb Group takes proactive approach to improving home energy efficiency

At Honeycomb Group, we’re improving the energy efficiency of our homes to create a positive financial impact for residents.

Through our affordable housing association, Staffs Housing, we provide over 3,000 homes across Staffordshire, Cheshire and the surrounding areas.

Last month staff from across Honeycomb Group met over 600 residents during our annual customer roadshow event, with them sharing that their biggest concern was the rising cost-of-living.

Last year it was reported that inefficient homes would cost more than £700 a year extra in energy bills than more efficient properties, according to research from Kingfisher. Data also revealed that the 19 million homes, in England and Wales, rated with an energy performance certificate (EPC) of D or below, faced an average bill increase of £1,730 per year.*

With residents concerned about how inefficient homes might impact them financially, we wanted to be proactive before new regulations come into effect in the coming years.

Steve Wilson, Honeycomb Group’s Director of Asset Management and Compliance, explained more about why it’s such a priority: “We recently held a successful customer roadshow event, The Big Conversation, across all our Staffs Housing homes. We met with over 600 residents, and by far the biggest takeaway was concerns about the rising cost-of-living.

Steve Wilson, Director of Asset Management and Compliance

“We’re supporting customers with this in lots of ways, including our brilliant Money Advice Team, who last year secured £1.1m of additional income for residents. But another way for us to address this is through the efficiency of our homes. We know the negative financial impact that an inefficient property can have, with homes rated EPC D or below having much higher energy bills than those at C or above.

"Alongside this, we’re very much aware of new regulations coming into effect in years to come, so we wanted to get ahead and start making changes now.”

Our Property Services and Business Intelligence teams worked with housing data experts, Parity Projects, to complete a thorough assessment of our homes.

All asset data was gathered and shared with Parity, to enable them to make assumptions on energy efficiency. This was based on things like the age of a home and boiler type.

“Parity were recommended to us because they are experts in the field of housing data. They completed a thorough assessment, working with our Business Intelligence and Property Services teams. They were presented with all our asset data and made assumptions about energy efficiency based on things such as the type of boiler installed, the year it was built and the number of bedrooms.

“They shared their findings with us and our Property Services team were able to fine-tune the results, tweaking certain findings where, from their experience and knowledge of our homes, they knew the ratings to be slightly different.”

Armed with the data, staff have already begun to make a number of changes to properties to boost them to an EPC C rating, with bigger works planned in coming years.

“We’ve been proactive about this – we know that new regulations are coming into effect, but more than that, our residents deserve to live in homes that are as efficient as possible.

“We’re taking a fabric-first approach and focusing on minor changes first, so that we can improve the energy efficiency rating of many of our properties really quickly.

“We only need to make small tweaks to some homes to push them up to an EPC C rating. This might mean adding energy-efficient lightbulbs or thickening loft insulation. We are exploring various government grants and will apply for these as much as we can to help us quickly improve the efficiency of customer's homes.

“For us, it means we’re ahead of the game and we’re adhering to the regulations that we’re governed by. For our residents, it will mean more efficient homes which will have a positive financial impact each month."

Find out more about Staffs Housing here.