Across our portfolio of over 6,000 rental homes, 70% are rated energy efficiency Band B or higher, and energy efficiency works are programmed into our annual repairs programme. Our ambition is for all new homes to have an energy efficiency rating of Band B or better, an aim set out in our 2021-24 strategic plan.
Our 22/23 energy efficiency figures at a glance:
Invested in energy efficiency works to existing homes
Average new build SAP rating
Homes rated Band B and above for energy efficiency
Our approach to building focuses on high levels of fabric efficiency - Fabric First – maximising the energy performance of all the components and materials that make up the building to reduce heat loss, including insulating walls, floors, lofts and roofs and installing full double glazing. In 2022/23, the average SAP rating for new homes developed by Hightown was 84.1 and 98% of new homes achieved a Band B rating or higher.
Where planning requires, we install photovoltaics (PV) - solar electricity panels - on new properties to generate renewable energy and improve the property’s energy efficiency banding. By the end of 2022/23, around 7% of our properties had PV installed.
Trialling sustainable energy solutions
The UK government has set a target to phase out the installation of new gas boilers by the mid-2030s. At Hightown, we have started to trial gas alternative energy solutions in preparation, including installing air source heat pumps in 158 properties at phase two of our landmark Maylands Plaza development in Hemel Hempstead.
The heat pumps work by capturing heat from outside and moving it into the home. Although the pumps use electricity to do this, the heat energy delivered is much more than the electrical energy used to power the system. This makes heat pumps an extremely low carbon heating option – one which will become greener in future as the electricity grid decarbonises with renewable energy sources.
Reducing energy consumption at our central offices
All the fluorescent light tubes at our central offices have been replaced with environmentally friendly LED tubes, saving an estimated 78% in energy consumption and 9.75 tonnes of CO2 annually, equivalent to five cars driving on petrol for a year.
Our central offices already generate renewable energy through photovoltaic (PV) roof panels; in the 11 years since installation, these have saved 141 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
We continue to encourage customers to consider their impact on the environment via regular communications on our website and through our resident newsletter. Our recent resident involvement events have focused on sustainability, with customers receiving information and advice on various environmental topics, including waste awareness and recycling, green volunteering opportunities and the ‘Energy Doctor’ energy advice scheme.