AgilityEco’s Chief Executive, Gearóid Lane has advised social landlords that, despite dramatic cuts to ECO, FIT and other funding streams by the government there are still innovative funding and financing options for low-carbon retrofit. Speaking at the Sustainable Homes National Conference, “Brave New World – saving money, efficiencies and new finance” in Manchester on October 11 2016, Mr Lane laid out the areas where there are still opportunities to finance, fund and deliver energy efficiency projects in an increasingly tough funding environment, also taking into account the potential financial ramifications of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
The Sustainable Homes conference brought together finance and sustainability experts from across the social housing and energy efficiency sectors. In what was described as a particularly tumultuous time for housing providers - rent reductions, a new government and uncertainty over green funding – attendees agreed that the need to cut back on expenditure and find new sources of finance was more vital than ever. The conference explored alternative funding and investment models as well as new ways to deliver warm, sustainable homes.
Mr Lane focused on the positive opportunities available to social landlords, despite the “crippling triple whammy” of funding cuts – ECO cuts, other funding cuts and rent caps. With very low funding available for SWI and most “easy measures” in social housing already done, Mr Lane emphasised the need for developers and social landlords to remain agile and open to new funding and financing structures.
Mr Lane said: “Times are challenging right now but we’ve found that there are still viable options for part or fully-funded low carbon retrofit works at the moment - and that innovative financing structures are still available to help bridge funding gaps. The route you choose totally depends on your finances. Social landlords also need to look beyond retrofit to support their residents who are struggling to meet their energy bills.
“In the past few weeks we’ve established new propositions for social landlords such as our bespoke Energy Price Comparison and Switching scheme and several local authorities, such as Portsmouth City Council, are implementing this creative approach to energy retail with the added benefit of receiving a new revenue stream for them to re-invest in local services. The funding and financing options for retrofit are being reinvented all the time - the onus is now on social landlords to keep themselves informed.”