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As we turn the spotlight onto our Zero Carbon Club members, we spoke to Adele Livesey, Operations Director at Progress Housing Group to discuss sector challenges and why she joined the collaboration.

What was the main driver for you joining the Zero Carbon Club?

The last two years throughout COVID have highlighted how much more we can achieve if we work together as a sector – no one organisation has the silver bullet to address the significant challenges ahead concerning hitting the government targets and re-educating colleagues and customers.

Having the opportunity to work collaboratively, sharing our successes and learning from each other is exciting and can only benefit all involved.

What are your organisation objectives re-zero carbon?

We have recently finalised our environmental sustainability strategy and net-zero road map, which sets out our plans to help the climate crisis, whilst continuing to ensure that our tenants and customers have homes that are affordable, safe, warm and environmentally sustainable. We are lucky to have engaged board members committed to supporting our drive to achieve net zero targets and make a difference in our customers’ lives.

Being part of this peer group will help us further develop and drive forward our net zero work. Learning from others, sharing best practices and coming together to develop schemes of work collaboratively will be a real bonus and help ensure continuous improvement in this vital area.

What innovative approaches have you adopted or been inspired by?

One of the many great aspects of the social housing sector is that we have been at the leading edge of innovation in improving the energy efficiency of the UK housing stock. We have learnt of many innovative projects, from installing shared ground loop heat pumps in high rise properties and innovative whole-house retrofit techniques such as Energiesprong through to the use of modern methods of construction within new builds. There is a wealth of experience and willingness to move the decarbonisation agenda forward within the sector. Our job is to capture and build on all this learning and good practice as we begin to carry out in-depth feasibility studies and develop our long term decarbonisation plans.

What is the biggest challenge for the sector or barriers to tackle?

In addition to the obvious financial implications of delivering improvements to our stock and our customers’ lives, there is also the constant changing and evolving technologies to consider. When is the best time to leap and decide the best long-term options to help us meet our targets?

Will we have sufficient capacity across the sector to support and deliver the changes we need to make? When do we start retraining our in house resources and developing teams and supply chains with the right skills and attributes for our future installation and maintenance requirements?

Engaging with customers and colleagues, developing their understanding and knowledge, and changing how they use their homes and offices; we cannot underestimate the level of resource that this task alone will require.

It will not be a one-off event but a long term investment of time and effort to meet these targets. What can we do with the assets that we cannot improve sufficiently to meet the targets? – A clear road map from the government is essential, providing much-needed clarity to all with simple access to funding streams.

Applications are currently open for cohort four of the Zero Carbon Club, to find out more register your interest here or give us a call on 0151 342 5989.