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Achieving Low Carbon Social Housing Through Innovation

Achieving Low Carbon Social Housing Through Innovation

Jones, Keith, Desai, Apeksha and Kaluarachchi, Yamuna (2012) Achieving Low Carbon Social Housing Through Innovation. In: Proceedings of the joint CIB W070, W092 and TG72 International Conference: Delivering Value to The Community. Department of Construction Economics and Management, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, pp. 424-430. ISBN 9780620507592


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Achieving a low carbon future continues to be one of the most challenging issues facing today’s built environment professionals. While significant advances have been made in the area of new build, the same cannot be said for the existing housing stock. In the UK 70% of the housing that will exist in 2050 has already been built. If the UK is to have any chance of meeting its 2050 carbon reduction targets, effective refurbishment strategies that significantly reduce the carbon footprint of existing housing need to be developed. However, whilst it is generally acknowledged that retrofit to existing buildings is more complicated than new build, the issues that need to be addressed are not primarily technical, but organisational and managerial. The combination of attitudes towards risk and awareness of innovative solutions result in organisational barriers to the wide uptake of low/zero carbon technologies.

This paper presents the findings of a research study into the level of perceived organisational sustainability and factors that influence refurbishment decision making amongst 57 UK social housing providers. It identifies a range of maturity indicators from Initiation, through Contagion and Control, to Maturity that can be used to distinguish between approaches to sustainable refurbishment. A research questionnaire was used to establish the level of maturity (in the sustainability innovation context) and decision making
characteristics of the responding organisation along with their experiences of sustainable refurbishment of their housing stock. The paper identifies a range of organisational characteristics and maps these against the organisation’s position along a “general” innovation journey through an S curve maturity model. The paper identifies a shift from national level drivers and barriers to local
level interpretation of the wider sustainability agenda as the key differences between Initiator and Mature organisations.

The paper concludes that it is possible to profile UK social housing providers and develop management instruments to accelerate their journey along the sustainable innovation curve. This in turn will accelerate the uptake of sustainable refurbishment programmes.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Title of Proceedings: Proceedings of the joint CIB W070, W092 and TG72 International Conference: Delivering Value to The Community
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainability, housing, refurbishment, existing stock, innovation, low carbon housing.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Architecture, Design & Construction > Sustainable Built Environments Research Group
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:24

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