Will The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Improve Living Standards?
In partnership with WATMOS Community Homes, Walsall Council has successfully bid for grant funding from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) and received one of the most significant allocations of energy grant funding awarded in the country. Housing Industry Leaders highlights the importance of retrofitting social housing.

The fund, administered by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is designed to improve the energy performance of social rented homes and aims to deliver warm, energy-efficient homes. Additionally, reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills, tackle fuel poverty and support green jobs.

A total of £7.9m funding has been approved and will be used to improve the energy efficiency of 858 hard-to-treat homes located in the following three WATMOS housing areas of Burrowes, Sandbank and Chuckery and will include several high rise properties with the work improving the energy rating of these properties.

Speaking to Housing Industry Leaders, David Binns, Associate at Michael Dyson Associates Ltd (MDA), talked about the importance of the SHDF. He said: “MDA welcome the opportunity to be involved in any project with funding provided by the SHDF and administered by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It supports the health and well-being of those living in social housing.”

Investing in people as well as places is essential in levelling up communities

The new decorative render will also make a significant change to the appearance of the blocks and modernise their look. The total cost of the improvement works will cost over £15.5m, including installing external wall insulation, new windows and pieces to upgrade the balconies. £7.9m of this cost will use the grant, with the remainder of the cost to be met by WATMOS.

The WATMOS Community Homes project will see hundreds of residents benefit from new windows, warmer homes and, importantly, reduced energy bills

Michael Dyson Associates Ltd [MDA] is a multi-disciplinary consultancy working with social landlords across the UK. Adding to this, David explained: “The recent and ongoing increase in energy prices has meant social landlords are focussed on reviewing the energy efficiency of their properties. Our various disciplines allow us to be involved in the specification and design, contract management and surveying of any project relating to energy improvements.”

Government intervention will spark innovation in the market

The recent de-carbonisation and economic strategy bill and Clean Growth Strategy mean social housing providers have to attain a minimum energy rating of Band C by 2035.

Dave told Housing Industry Leaders: “This target seems a long way away, and certainly there are some quick wins regarding energy improvements; loft insulation and replacement boilers, for example.”

“However, the larger-scale improvements on flat blocks or hard to treat properties can take months or even years to procure, pass through planning and then physically undertake on-site.”

We offer retrofit co-ordinator, retrofit assessor, thermographic surveys, EPCs and air test services as just a small part of our green services

An essential aspect of retrofitting housing around the UK and other forms of sustainable developments is the need to create green jobs for the future.

Michael Dyson Associates Ltd actively involves itself in Government consultation relating to changes in housing legislation; this provides some guidance to the Government on where and how improvements to housing legislation should be made and targeted in future years.

Furthermore, the MDA design team remains at the forefront of low carbon technologies. A new commission for Kirklees Council saw the design team providing architectural services (RIBA 0-7) for a retrofit project that has recently been shortlisted in the Best Social Housing Category at the MJ Awards 2022.

The funding will help people most vulnerable to fuel poverty and on low incomes with upgrades helping to reduce their bills and make warmth affordable

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council, said: “I am delighted that Walsall will be receiving this funding. This bid was part of the first wave of the £950 Million government funding that has been made available.”

Walsall will be looking to set the benchmark for retrofitting in the West Midlands. To keep up to date with the retrofit challenge in the region, attend our in-person event in Birmingham on the 17th May.