Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury Webinar Series: “Let’s Take Action and Act Together”

The Northern Housing Consortium has announced the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury webinar series. The series is designed to build on the Tenants’ Climate Jury project which ran from July – September 2021, exploring the recommendations the Jury produced and the issues raised. Across five different sessions expert speakers, including commentators who originally gave ‘evidence’ to the Jury, will discuss examples of what the group felt represented good practice in decarbonising homes as well as the wider implications of retrofit and climate change the Jury highlighted as core concerns.

The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury brought together 30 social housing residents, randomly selected, from across the North to learn about climate change and how to work towards net zero at the local level. In November 2020, the Jury launched its report and recommendations to the sector; their views, as social housing tenants, as to how tenants, social landlords, and other place-based organisations can work together to tackle climate change in our homes and neighbourhoods.

Around ¼ of the North’s carbon emissions come from our existing homes and to meet the challenge of net zero, over 1million social rented sector homes across the North will require retrofit measures. Northern Housing Consortium members know that tackling climate change is as much a tenant engagement issue as an asset management consideration, and that a positive resident experience is a central contributory factor to the long-term success of retrofit works.

Commissioned by the NHC alongside First Choice Homes Oldham, Karbon Homes, Salix Homes, Thirteen Group, and Yorkshire Housing; the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury was designed to bring tenants into the heart of this discussion.

The Jury’s work is brought together in this final report and series of 19 recommendations. Over ten weeks, and 30 hours of deliberation, the Jury heard from and discussed climate change with invited experts from organisations like The Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, National Energy Action, and representatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Jury were also able to question Lord Callanan, Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility, as part of the process.

The detailed recommendations contain a number of practical suggestions to the sector as well as longer term ambitions to ensure social housing leads on tackling climate change through good quality retrofit programmes and creating greener healthier neighbourhoods.

They underline the sense of urgency felt by the group, an emphasis on ensuring high standards, a need to develop considered retrofit strategies over the medium-longer term, suggestions as to how communication can be made more honest and transparent, how the sector can be upfront on costs both now and in the future, the value placed on collaboration and pooling risk and reward, and finally how the sector as a whole, both tenants landlord officers, can improve its knowledge on both renewable heating technology and climate change more broadly.

Details of each session, including a link to register your attendance, can be found below.


The Cost of Retrofit and the Energy Transition:

Wednesday 26th January, 14.00 – 15.30

The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury identified retrofit as not just a potentially disruptive process in of itself but the source of various financial questions tenants have that if gone unanswered can cause confusion and anxiety.

Government funding is available for the installation of works but won’t cover every home, what other funding or income streams are available and how will this information be communicated to tenants? Equally, as homes move onto renewable heating sources, is the wider energy transition ready to keep electricity affordable? And most importantly when, if ever, will tenants to called upon to contribute through their rent?

This session will explore the financial considerations of retrofit and the energy grid’s move towards renewables with a specific focus on the potential impact on tenants.


Retrofit Standards & Accreditation: Towards Getting it Right First Time

Wednesday 15th February 2022, 14.00 – 15.30

As part of the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury discussions were held with residents who had lived experience of their home being retrofitted. Both positive and negative experiences were heard about the quality of installation.

This session will explore the Jury’s desire to see the sector ‘get it right first time’ when it comes to housing retrofit. A series of speakers will discuss the current accreditation regime for retrofit works and case studies will be given from across the NHC membership. Presentations will be given covering projects achieving the highest standards but also how communication is key when certain properties demand an alternative approach.


The Resident-Centric Retrofit Journey

Wednesday 2nd March 2022, 14.00 – 15.30

From the beginning the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury prioritised conveying how retrofit works impact tenants in the most practical sense; how tenants first learn of energy efficiency and renewable heating technology, how long installation takes, what happens to and in the home, what measures (e.g. insulation and heat pumps) look like and where are they actually installed, what it means for how the home is heated following installation, and how tenants will adapt their heating use in their day-to-day lives.

This session will bring together good practice from customer-centric retrofit projects across all tenures. Speakers will discuss good practice in first introducing renewable heating technology to tenants and how residents are supported to ensure new heating systems are used as intended. Presentations will also focus on how planning, coordination, and communication can work towards managing and mitigating disruptions to tenants’ lives.


Expanding Climate Education in Social Housing: Carbon Literacy Amongst Officers and Tenants

Wednesday 16th March 2022, 14.00 – 15.30

 The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury felt strongly that the knowledge they had gained in earlier sessions on climate change played a contributing role to their understanding on the need to retrofit homes. The Jury would like to see the sector explore ways that this kind of knowledge can be spread as widely as possible to both tenants and officers.

This session will explore the ways in which landlords are communicating with their tenants on why retrofit works are taking place, and how they can be part of the process. Themes will include choosing the correct medium to convey the message, ensuring no one is left behind in receiving this information, and how as a whole a proactive and knowledgeable sector can showcase the best of the social housing sector.


Retrofit to Regeneration: Tackling Climate Change and Building Communities

Wednesday 30th March 2022, 14.00 – 15.30

 As well as discussing climate science and the decarbonisation of existing properties, the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury also considered ways in which housing retrofit can be one part of a move to make their neighbourhoods more environmentally friendly, happier, and healthier places. The Jury identified tackling climate change in homes and neighbourhoods as a way of bringing all place-based agencies together and improve collaboration.

This session will offer examples of projects that can complement housing retrofit work and transform whole neighbourhoods. Speakers will also discuss the Jury’s desire to see outdoor and communal spaces used to improve not just the environment but our health and ability to socialise with each other; net zero as community building.