“Housing associations must set sustainability standards” – London Mayor

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has told edie he wants to see housing associations taking the lead on sustainable development - in the hopes that the private sector will follow.


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Speaking during a tour of eco-friendly flats for key workers on Brixton’s St Matthew’s Estate, the Mayor said he would like to see the sustainable design principles they exhibit taken up as the standard for all social housing.

“Climate change is the biggest single problem facing all of us, all over the world, we can’t carry on polluting the atmosphere with carbon emissions in the way we’ve been doing,” he told edie.

“I’ve set a target that London’s emissions must be cut by 60% by 2050 and this building will help with that as it’s the closest we’ve got to carbon neutral.

“This development isn’t pumping out carbon emissions and it’s also providing cheap costs for people’s energy bills, which come in at something around £70 per year.

“I’d like to see this become the standard for all housing association housing in London. Once we’ve created that market the cost of the technology comes down and the private sector will be much more likely to take it up.”

The St Matthew’s £1.5m, 12 flat development uses passive solar in the form of large, south-facing windows to keep heating bills down.

Photovoltaic and solar-thermal panels grace the roof of the building and a wood pellet burning boiler makes up the heating shortfall.

The average annual energy bill for each flat is less than £75.

Mr Livingstone said as people woke up to how cheap the bills are in sustainable homes, they will find them even more attractive.

While the London Plan will set targets for renewable energy in new build (see related story) the millions of existing dwellings still present a huge carbon problem for the city.

Asked what his office was doing to tackle it, Mr Livingstone told edie: “44% of London’s carbon emissions come from existing housing stock, therefore the real problem now is to adapt that housing and retrofit it with new technology.

“The biggest quick win we could have though is to have everybody properly insulate their loft. I’m lobbying Government to provide funding for that so that the people who can’t afford to do it get it paid for by a housing association of the DHS.”

Sam Bond

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