We only need to look at the news to see how climate change and the environmental impacts are affecting our lives. The key message for Housing Associations is that sustainability is inherent in the work we do. As legacy landowners and stewards of the assets; both homes and greenspaces, there is a commitment to long-term management and maintenance of the environmental features which provide benefits to both people and the wider environment.
Whether developing new homes or retrofitting your existing housing stock, taking sustainability into consideration will add to costs, time and be affected by the skills gap. These are all risks to recognise with impacts to be assessed. Building and refurbishing are long term projects and will have a generational effect on community, the local environment and residents.
It can be argued that as an industry we have been slow to react to this challenge, but now is the time to set ourselves manageable and measurable goals. Sustainability can be seen in economic, social and environmental terms, this can make it difficult to include clear goals in housing association strategies.
Decisions, decisions, decisions;
- Do you need to look at new methods of construction and refurbishment and new technologies?
- Better homes for tenants and better homes for the environment, can you do this and still provide affordable housing?
- Do you need to review your financial plan to take sustainable development into account?
- Is it a bigger question than the homes themselves and do you need to review green infrastructure and the health and wellbeing of the wider community?
- Are there industry standards you should be working towards?
- Can you mitigate any of these and measure your success in achieving your goals?
And many more…..
Housing Associations need innovation around the mechanisms to assure there are ongoing and appropriate levels of resources to manage and maintain the environmental aspects of our housing stock. Ensuring the benefits they bring including creating a sense of place, leading to higher retention levels, less stressful environments, higher levels of community cohesion and a more sustainable income model.
Here at ARK we can help you with asking the right questions and finding answers for your strategy and with our partnership with Decision Time we can help you to run your goals and risk register in a clear and integrated system.
We are running two free briefings on the 6th March in Taunton and Cardiff Come and find out more at one of our free briefings on March 6th in Taunton and Cardiff focussing on risk assurance, please click on the links below for more detail: