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News22 March 2023

Clarion Housing Group awarded largest share of Government social housing retrofit fund

A consortium of social housing providers, led by the UK’s largest housing association, Clarion Housing Group, has today been awarded £48.9m to upgrade the energy efficiency of thousands of hard-to-heat homes across the country. The funding is supplemented by Clarion’s own investment of £60m, taking the entire project cost to some £109m.

The multimillion-pound grant forms part of Government’s £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), through which Clarion has been reducing carbon emissions and driving down energy bills in its least energy efficient homes since 2021.

Today’s grant is taken from the second wave of funding within the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero’s (DESNZ) landmark 10-year programme, which pledges to deliver energy-efficient homes, tackle fuel poverty and support green jobs.

The SHDF’s second wave, known as Wave 2.1, totals £778m and has been allocated to charitable social housing providers across England. Clarion’s grant is the largest award given to any single local authority or organisation through this current wave.

Clarion will now join fellow providers Accent Housing, Worthing Homes, Southdown Housing and BHT Sussex to upgrade 6,004 homes within their shared portfolio as part of the nationwide retrofit programme. Some 5,300 of these homes belong to Clarion, which used its scale and expertise to support the partnering providers and bid on behalf of the five-strong consortium last year.

The 125,000-home landlord Clarion has become a key partner to Government on decarbonisation over the past two years.

In 2021, it worked with partners to test and deliver the SHDF’s pilot phase and last year received a further grant for Wave 1 to upgrade 450 more of its least efficient homes in Tonbridge, Fenland and Merton.

Wave 2.1 will fund a range of energy efficiency upgrades to the consortium members’ homes including cavity wall, loft and external wall insulation, improved ventilation and the installation of air-source heat pumps – all of which will make homes cheaper to heat.

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, said:

“We are delighted with this announcement. This additional grant funding will enable us to further reduce our carbon footprint and upgrade thousands more hard-to-heat Clarion homes across the country.

“We share the Government’s ambition to retrofit homes at scale right across the country and we are making giant strides in decarbonising our portfolio, both through our own asset management programme and partnerships such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).

“We are looking forward to working with our Wave 2.1 partners to make an additional 5,300 Clarion homes warmer, more efficient and cheaper to run at a time of significant energy price growth.”

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said:

“This investment will help thousands of households to heat their homes for less, keep them warm for longer and could save hundreds on their annual energy bill.

“The green energy sector is growing, and this funding will support green jobs and provide the training needed to deliver these vital upgrades to homes.”

Clarion is delivering SHDF retrofit upgrades alongside its wider strategic asset management programme, into which it last year invested £364m from its own balance sheet to upgrade and maintain homes within its portfolio.

The housing provider’s work on SHDF Wave 1 with supply chain partners United Living, Bailey Garner and Equans this month won a prestigious industry award in recognition of its excellence in social housing retrofit.

The Wave 1 work, which will complete by 30 June 2023, has included fitting properties with smart monitoring devices to help residents and Clarion measure performance of the upgrades.

Work to retrofit homes through Wave 2.1 is expected to conclude in September 2025.