Decarbonising the North’s existing homes offers massive potential for economic stimulus. It can help Government deliver on two key objectives:

  • Reaching the legally-binding 2050 net zero emissions target
  • Levelling up the North and kick-starting our recovery from Covid-19.

That’s why – as part of #OurNorth Net Zero the Northern Housing Consortium has supported work by IPPR North, the dedicated think tank for the North of England, to set out a clear pathway to decarbonise the North’s existing homes – making them warmer and healthier along the way.

Northern Powerhomes sets out a clear roadmap to decarbonise heating and hot water systems based on shovel-ready technology, involving:

  • Retrofit measures to improve energy efficiency in over 5million northern homes
  • Fitting 6million northern houses with clean, green heat pump technology
  • Connecting another 1million northern homes to heat networks.

This work has massive job-creation potential, creating 77,000 direct jobs in the North by 2035, generating £3.85bn in GVA direct in the North.

The pathway set out by IPPR North has an initial focus on social housing and skills development. It finds that:

  • Social housing providers have demonstrable historic capacity to deliver home improvement projects and the scale available to drive supply chain development which will unlock decarbonisation of other tenures over time.
  • A stronger, more responsive and localised skills system is needed to deliver the work, with a Northern Skills Plan proposed to ensure that northerners can take advantage of the good, green, skilled jobs created by the programme.

To deliver on this, the report proposes Government commit to a 10-year programme of targeted investment in decarbonising the North’s social housing stock. The report recommends an annual investment of £1.18bn of pump priming investment in decarbonising the North’s social housing stock. This would be matched by social housing providers and will help build demand, develop supply chains, promote technological pathways, drive long-term cost reductions and build skills.


Number of direct jobs that could be created by technology by region within the North by 2035

Potential jobs North North East North West Yorkshire and

The Humber

Retrofits 53,000 9,000 26,000 18,000
Heat pumps 13,000 4,000 6,000 3,000
Heat networks 11,000 2,000 5,000 4,000
Total 77,000 15,000 37,000 25,000

Source: Johns M and Longlands S (2020) Northern powerhomes: A green recovery plan to decarbonise homes in the North, IPPR North.  Based on Author’s analysis of Webb et al 2020

Note: Numbers may not sum due to rounding. These figures are estimates and there is significant uncertainty abouttotal job creation related to preferred technologies, rates of adoption and the correct interventions (and at what point) for different housing stock archetypes. This should be borne in mind when interpreting these figures.

Thanks to our #OurNorth Net Zero programme partners

The NHC’s support for this work was made possible through the generous support of the #OurNorth Net Zero programme partners : Halton Housing, Liverpool City Region Housing Associations, Thirteen, Together Housing Group and Consortium Procurement.  The contents and opinions expressed in the Northern Powerhomes report are those of the authors only.