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Costing an enhanced Decent Homes Standard for London

Flats in Tottenham, London

Modelling options for the social housing stock.

Project duration: May 2010 – December 2010

The poorest households often live in social housing, rented from local councils or housing associations. These homes should be as energy efficient as possible to keep heating and electricity bills to a minimum and avoid wasting energy and money. The Decent Homes legislation aimed to provide a minimum standard of housing conditions for people living in social housing by the end of 2010.

When the study began, around 92% of London’s current social housing stock already met this standard. However the legislation set a low basic minimum standard for heating and insulation – well below what is needed to reduce fuel poverty. It also failed to address sufficiently the environmental performance of homes, particularly in relation to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Working with Greater London Authority (GLA), the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) team researched different options for improving the quality and environmental performance of social housing in the capital. We estimated the total cost of delivering an enhanced Decent Homes Standard by identifying the best technical options for delivering improvements relating to sustainable energy (energy efficiency and low/zero carbon generation), water efficiency and summer overheating within London’s social housing stock.

Having recently developed the London Heat Map for the GLA at the time, the CSE team used its knowledge of London’s social housing and fuel poverty, as well as a good understanding of the district heat network opportunities available to social housing providers across the capital.

The project involved a typology analysis of London’s social housing stock. A set of three scenarios were modelled based on Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) targets to illustrate a range of levels for an enhanced standard.  A review of relevant projects and programmes both inside and outside of London was undertaken and the opinions and experiences of local authorities, housing associations and other stakeholders were assessed in terms of sustainable energy measures, refurbishment strategies, costs, funding, and monitoring issues.    

The Metropolitan Housing Trust brought in specialist input and real-life practical experience of social housing perspectives to the project to help identify issues around asset management, and to shape the development of options for an enhanced Decent Homes Standard.


The Metropolitan Housing Trust

This project was funded by the Greater London Authority

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