A housing association in Salford is inviting its tenants to take part in a first-of-its-kind climate tenants’ jury between July and September.
The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury will develop recommendations and guidance for how residents and social landlords can work together to tackle climate change in social housing.
The climate jury will consist of 30 tenants at five housing associations from across the north of England: First Choice Homes, Karbon Homes, Thirteen Group, Yorkshire Housing and Salford-based housing provider Salix Homes. The initiative is being led by the Northern Housing Consortium, a body representing housing organisations in the north of England, and it will be facilitated by Shared Future, a community interest company which specialises in organising citizens’ juries.
The project will focus specifically on retrofitting energy saving measures to existing homes and accommodating installation in the least disruptive ways to tenants.
Retrofit involves making homes more energy efficient through better insulation; ensuring windows, doors, roofs and ceilings are draught-proof. It can also involve fitting solar panels and upgrading energy and heating systems, for example through the installation of heat pumps.
These measures reduce the amount of heat homes waste, resulting in less CO2 in the atmosphere, as well as lowering energy bills.
Retrofit will play a key role if Greater Manchester is to meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038. A report by the University of Lancaster found that homes account for 27% of the region’s carbon footprint.
Many see retrofitting the social housing sector as a key step in developing the nascent retrofit industry to the point that it can refurbish homes en masse. Earlier this year, the government announced the first £160 million tranche of a £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, accessible to local authorities, to support the retrofitting of social homes. However MPs have called for social retrofit funding to be ‘frontloaded’ to get nationwide projects started faster.
Dubbed the first-of-its-kind by Salix Homes, the climate jury will comprise six tenants from each housing association. Salix Homes has sent letters its 1,500 of its residents inviting them to register their interest in taking part. Tenants who receive a letter have until Monday 5 July to register their interest to take part using the link in the letter. Anyone in a household which receives a letter is eligible to take part.
Shared Future will then select six tenants from each housing association so the jury reflects the diversity of residents living within social housing, both in terms of demographic make-up and opinions on climate change.
The jury will meet ten times between 27 July and 28 September for 30 hours’ worth of deliberation. Participants will listen to and discuss retrofit issues with expert speakers and facilitators. The jury will then develop recommendations for how tenants and housing providers can fight climate change in their homes and neighbourhoods.
Anne-Marie Bancroft, a customer engagement manager at Salix Homes, said: “The housing sector has a key role to play in tackling climate change, and as an organisation we’re committed to cutting our own carbon footprint and ensuring our tenants have access to high quality homes that are safe, warm and energy efficient.
“We’re strong advocates for the importance of listening to tenant’s views and opinions, so we’re incredibly proud to be part of the first ever Tenant’s Climate Jury, which will ensure residents are at the front and centre of any refurbishment and retrofitting programmes, which will affect their homes, and ultimately ensure the sustainability of our housing stock.”
The final report and recommendations of the jury will be launched at the Northern Housing Summit in November.
You can follow the Jury’s progress on the Northern Housing Consortium’s website here.
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