Solar PV is most popular green technology for housing associations

Solar PV panels are the most popular form of green technology for housing associations in the UK, according to a new report from the National House-Building Council (NHBC) Foundation.

The research found that almost two thirds of surveyed housing associations had dealt with ‘sustainable technologies’, with 75% saying solar PV was the option they would be most likely to use again. 

That support was likely driven by the low installation and maintenance costs as these were two of the main considerations for associations when deciding which technology to install.

Between 50 and 60% of associations say that they expect to use solar thermal hot water and MVHR (mechanical ventilation and heat recovery) in the future.

The report claims the social housing sector has been at the forefront of the adoption of different types of energy efficiency technologies and water-saving features as it has been building new homes to higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Water-saving technologies have also been widely used with low-flush toilets and low-flow taps and showers becoming standard in new homes. Three quarters of housing associations expect to use these again in future.

However certain technologies did not receive a positive response, with more than a third of respondents saying they would seek to avoid ground source heat pumps, greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting.

Zero-carbon countdown

With just one year to go before the Government’s 2016 zero carbon home target, the report is aimed at helping the wider house-building industry make better-informed choices on sustainable technology.

The response of the housing associations were broadly positive, as 81% perceived that residents had benefitted from reduced energy bills, and almost a quarter thought they had improved air quality.

Neil Smith, head of research and innovation at NHBC, said: “Much progress has been made by the house-building industry to address environmental issues, particularly in relation to improving energy and water efficiency.

Tenants of the Berwickshire Housing Association, for example, could soon be benefitting from 749 roof-mounted solar panels funded by a crowdfunding campaign on Abundance.

Brad Allen

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