Modern slavery and responsibly sourced materials

Modern slavery and responsibly sourced materials

A new Global Commission on Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking has been set up [1] with the aim of driving international momentum towards eradicating forced labour, ending modern slavery and human trafficking – in line with UN goals.  It is part funded by the UK...
New environmental consultations in Scotland

New environmental consultations in Scotland

A couple of new consultations are out which will have implications for managing environmental issues in Scotland.  The first is about biodiversity.  The second is, perhaps surprisingly to some, about water efficiency ‘Tackling the nature emergency’ [1] is based around...
Funding net zero – a “roundtable of the willing”

Funding net zero – a “roundtable of the willing”

There is currently no sensible financial arrangement for funding the transformation of social homes to net zero.  And no-one seems to be talking about long-term plans either.  After chats with a few FD’s, investors, and the Green Finance Institute, we thought it might...
SHIFT Q&A

SHIFT Q&A

Each year we upgrade our methodologies for environmental reporting.  The main reason we do this is to ensure that our methodologies align with new national methodologies or UK environmental strategies.  For example, last year new water efficiency targets were...
Advice for Choosing an Environmental Degree

Advice for Choosing an Environmental Degree

    It’s great to see that prospective students are thinking about environmental degrees.  A client asked for some advice on behalf of his son who is passionate about zoology but doesn’t see many career options. We shared our thoughts: Great that your son is...
Cutting Commercial Energy Waste With Real-Time Data

Cutting Commercial Energy Waste With Real-Time Data

  Why is there a picture of apples on a blog about energy saving?  We spoke to energy monitoring software providers GridDuck to find out.  Here’s what they say: With fuel shortages, unprecedented price hikes and the bankruptcy of large industry names, energy...
Cementing the Green Revolution: Decarbonising Cement

Cementing the Green Revolution: Decarbonising Cement

Since its invention 199 years ago in England, Original Portland Cement (OPC) has become a critical building block for modern civilisation’s infrastructure. However, despite advancements in reducing emissions produced in cement production, it still makes up as much as...
SHIFT 2024 consultation begins

SHIFT 2024 consultation begins

At SHIFT we closely monitor all relevant national policy, strategy and legislative changes related to sustainability and the built environment and carefully consider any resultant updates that are required to our environmental audit process. In addition to our ongoing...
natural harmony in danger

natural harmony in danger

The current state of the environment is in a bad way currently, with biodiversity being shown to have significantly decreased over the last 50 years. ‘As a result, the UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth’ according to the ‘State of Nature’...
The Energy Bill, On The Cusp of Change

The Energy Bill, On The Cusp of Change

  The new ‘Energy Bill’, previously, the Energy Security Bill, looks at reforming the 10-year-old Energy Act (2013). This is to get the legislation up to speed with not only current technology, but the needs of consumers and businesses alike. The bill has reached...
can air travel be sustainable?

can air travel be sustainable?

Right now, air travel contributes to global CO2 emissions and even more flights are projected.  One way to cut emissions would be to get people to fly less. But sometimes this is a hard ask for businesses that consider flying essential and, families wanting holidays...
Using drones for biodiversity measurement

Using drones for biodiversity measurement

Drones, or to give them their technical title, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are a rapidly advancing, versatile technology that is already having a major impact on a variety of sectors. Asher, one of our SHIFT Environmental Assessors, undertook research...
SHIFT impact

SHIFT impact

At SHIFT we work hard to deliver impactful environmental reporting. We want to make sure that our reports provide clients with the information they need to make environmental improvements. We like to understand what is particularly useful and informative to each...
A CO2 IT system for construction companies – our thoughts

A CO2 IT system for construction companies – our thoughts

We’ve had some queries lately from construction companies looking to report their scope 1,2 and 3 CO2 emissions. Specifically, they have been after an “off the shelf system” that they could simply plug data in to as an when they have it and then the system would churn...
Happiness, placemaking and asset management

Happiness, placemaking and asset management

The National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) recently asked us to write our thoughts on how asset management and residents’ wellbeing may develop in the near future. Here’s what we wrote: Talking about “happiness” in an NHMF blog may seem a bit of an odd subject...
Dynamis solar PV – just the right size

Dynamis solar PV – just the right size

At a recent National Housing Federation (NHF) event we met with fellow “sector supplier” Dynamis.  As we know that NHF do a rigorous check on who they classify as a sector supplier we were very pleased to meet them.  We found that they are a solar PV installer firm...
Water efficiency targets for UK housing

Water efficiency targets for UK housing

The UK has been busy establishing domestic water efficiency targets to prepare ourselves for climate change. Here’s a quick review. England The government has recently released its latest water efficiency policy paper for England [1]. Several objectives have been...
How can digital tech support healthy homes?

How can digital tech support healthy homes?

Coastline Housing in Cornwall has collaborated on a research and innovation project called Smartline, which has included the installation of smart sensors in some of their homes. We asked Smartline to share the details of their interesting and pertinent project: How...
SHIFT Gold accreditation for new build – our response

SHIFT Gold accreditation for new build – our response

We have received a flurry of requests on how a new build development can attain “SHIFT Gold”. On the one hand this is a great sign that the SHIFT scheme is having a real impact on what gets built. On the other hand, it’s not the intention for SHIFT to accredit any...
Decarbonising Social Housing – the ALMO perspective

Decarbonising Social Housing – the ALMO perspective

The National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) have recently published a report for the NFA Best Practice Series [1] addressing lessons from the ALMO sector regarding decarbonising social housing. This blog outlines areas where ALMOs differ from housing associations, but it...
Consultation launched – SHIFT 2023 updates

Consultation launched – SHIFT 2023 updates

It’s that time of year that we’ve all been waiting for… SHIFT’s annual consultation on our updates for next year’s environmental reporting and audit process. We continuously monitor national policy, strategy and legislative changes related to sustainability and the...
New ESG reporting requirements approved

New ESG reporting requirements approved

In 2019, as part of the European Green Deal, the EU announced the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) which has recently been approved and will soon require companies to publish detailed information on their environmental, social and governance...
Economic growth and net zero

Economic growth and net zero

Soon after Liz Truss became prime minister, BEIS initiated a “Net Zero Review” which aimed to establish how net zero targets can contribute to an economic growth target of 2.5% [1].  Given all the recent U-turns on both economic and carbon policy we’re not sure what...
Hanham Hall

Hanham Hall

Here at SHIFT, we’re pretty keen on sustainability in the built environment, which is why we decided to head over to Hanham Hall, on the outskirts of Bristol, for our September social outing. Hanham Hall was lauded as the first large-scale housing scheme intended to...
RdSAP awareness training

RdSAP awareness training

Many residential building owners will be familiar already with RdSAP software, but what are the calculations behind it? SHIFT’s popular “RdSAP awareness training” is ideal for those who want to understand these calculations that underpin the SAP/EPC rating. Many...
Completing an EPC analysis of your housing stock

Completing an EPC analysis of your housing stock

Many social landlords contact us here at SHIFT because they are committed to developing feasible plans to achieve Net Zero (or at least EPC C) homes across their stock. We have supported lots of clients to create a roadmap via an EPC analysis of their existing homes,...
How green is your electricity tariff?

How green is your electricity tariff?

A green electricity tariff can be labelled ‘green’ if some or all units of electricity purchased are ‘matched’ by units of energy generated from a renewable energy source. It can be difficult to separate a reliable green tariff from a greenwashing tariff as...
Job description for an Environmental Champion

Job description for an Environmental Champion

Job description for an Environmental Champion Recently a client asked us if we knew of a job description available anywhere for an Environmental Champion. We know that appointing Environmental Champions is a popular approach to promoting sustainability issues,...
Building to Net Zero

Building to Net Zero

Up until now, policy intended to make buildings more efficient has focused on operational emissions. Embodied carbon within construction is not assessed or controlled, therefore it is no surprise that little or no progress has been achieved in reduction. Engineering...
A metric for biodiversity

A metric for biodiversity

Establishing a meaningful metric for biodiversity has long been an elusive task.  Perhaps a new approach could provide such a metric for strategic decision making. The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) has released a second draft version of its...
Response to the call for Green Finance Strategy evidence

Response to the call for Green Finance Strategy evidence

The UK’s Green Finance Strategy, published in July 2019, had three objectives: helping the financial sector align with net-zero; mobilising private investment that supports sustainable growth; and ensuring businesses can benefit from the transition to net-zero. The...
Which has lower embodied carbon, MMC or traditional homes?

Which has lower embodied carbon, MMC or traditional homes?

Of the UK’s total energy consumption 24% is attributable to the domestic sector [1] and of this embodied carbon could account for 6-10%. Despite this embodied carbon is not, in general practice, a consideration when a building is designed, specified and constructed....
June 2022 Building Regulations

June 2022 Building Regulations

A new Part L of the building regulations will come into effect on June 15th 2022.  This is billed as an interim uplift towards the Future Homes Standard scheduled for 2025. The new uplift focuses on much better fabric standards and is intended to reduce CO2 emissions...
Driving down the embodied carbon of parking spaces

Driving down the embodied carbon of parking spaces

Last year the Department for Transport published its Decarbonising Transport strategy[1] for addressing the greenhouse gas emissions from transport (responsible for 27% of the UK’s emissions in 2019). The Strategic Priorities include accelerating the modal shift to...
SECR Reporting – SHIFT roundtable session

SECR Reporting – SHIFT roundtable session

This roundtable session took place on the 21st March 2022, and included social landlords representing over 60,000 UK homes. The key points of discussion were: Reporting guidelines Data requirements Benefits of SECR reporting What is SECR SECR stands for Streamlined...
Funding net zero – a thought piece

Funding net zero – a thought piece

The cost of transforming our homes to net zero is going to be huge.  One estimate puts the cost of getting all English housing association homes to net zero at ~£60bn.  For context, the present Government has pledged £3.8bn over 10 years for decarbonising social...
Scope 3 emissions from pensions

Scope 3 emissions from pensions

Recently a client asked us about scope 3 carbon emissions from investments in pension schemes and whether this is something that is discussed amongst the social housing sector. Carbon emissions can be associated with the investment of pension schemes, so how...
SHIFT Consultation: We want your feedback

SHIFT Consultation: We want your feedback

At SHIFT, we are committed to keeping the SHIFT environmental standard up-to-date. This means considering continual improvements in line with national policy updates and feedback we receive from SHIFT landlords. Annual feedback is vital to ensure we are capturing the...
Building to EPC A – roundtable review

Building to EPC A – roundtable review

Building new homes to EPC A rating is an approach we champion at SHIFT and with 25% of our landlords having already built to this standard, the demand for a roundtable to share advice and experiences was high! Across two sessions, 18 social housing providers managing...
Using IoT to step up your carbon reduction efforts

Using IoT to step up your carbon reduction efforts

Our friends at Safecility told us about some of their remote testing innovations that can help reduce carbon emissions.  Here’s what they say: While the current spotlight is on long term deep property retrofits to enhance homes and make them easier to heat – there are...
Overheating risk and the impact of cooling demand

Overheating risk and the impact of cooling demand

While there has been a focus on reducing energy demand for heating, with global temperatures set to increase, there has been little consideration for future for cooling systems demand. There is no doubt that in recent years, the UK has experienced record breaking dry...
Trees and carbon offsetting

Trees and carbon offsetting

A client paid us a very nice compliment about our Energy White Paper response[1].  They also asked whether they should sign up to a tree planting scheme.  We’ve been asked about this topic a few times, so we checked the scheme and shared our thoughts. Tree planting...
UK Happiness and Wellbeing Statistics- March 2021 Update

UK Happiness and Wellbeing Statistics- March 2021 Update

Following the International Day of Happiness (20th March 2021) we have compiled a number of statistics to see how close we are to reaching a goal of 100% long-term wellbeing. Since March 2020, there is no surprise that we have faced unprecedented challenges, and our...
New Homes Ombudsman

New Homes Ombudsman

As the provision of new homes across the UK continues to grow (MHCLG, 2020), it is essential that these homes meet adequate standards and building quality does not suffer. The announcement of a New Homes Ombudsman, by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP, will assist...
The new “Fuel Poverty” strategy

The new “Fuel Poverty” strategy

The Government has updated its Fuel Poverty strategy.  The long-term targets remain unchanged since the last one, but there are a few nuances that are worth looking at.  Overall, the strategy applies to all tenures and is described as a “living document”.  There is no...
SHIFT Team environmental report

SHIFT Team environmental report

To practice what we preach, we assessed our own environmental impacts. Our reporting period was 1st October 2019 – 30th September 2020 and here’s how we did: Offices Our office space has no gas supply, and instead uses a ground source heat pump for space heating....
Feedback on Energy White Paper

Feedback on Energy White Paper

BEIS asked us, via our professional institute (IEMA[1]) for feedback on the recent Energy White Paper.  For domestic properties there is a lot mentioned:  EPC targets, new homes, hydrogen, electric heating and heat networks.   We have some suggestions and information...
Social Housing White Paper – the environmental angle

Social Housing White Paper – the environmental angle

Introduction A quick word search on the new “The Charter for Social Housing Residents Social Housing White Paper” resulted in 5 specific mentions of “climate change” so we took a deeper look with an environmental perspective. We’ve also suggested actions that...
Personal thoughts on PassivHaus

Personal thoughts on PassivHaus

  Recently, a contact got in touch for thoughts on PassivHaus.  This is what we replied: I’ve not personally built one myself, but I’ve worked with a few people that have.  I’ve also done some cursory analysis of energy certificates.  On that basis I’ll share...
Reducing office carbon emissions

Reducing office carbon emissions

Reducing carbon emissions from offices should be part of any organisation’s “net zero carbon” plan.  But how do you do it?  How do you know which parts of the building to upgrade first?  Which interventions will have the most impact?  How much does it cost?  How much...
Social impact reporting for ESG

Social impact reporting for ESG

At SHIFT we are pleased that our environmental reporting scheme for social landlords aligns extremely well with the current ESG reporting criteria (see our publications page for the SHIFT ESG matrix).  We also know that environmental protection is crucial for our...
Overheating risk

Overheating risk

A few months ago Inside Housing magazine asked us to comment on overheating risk. Here’s what we wrote: As if Covid-19 isn’t enough, summer is fast approaching and extreme weather events are high on national and international risk registers.  Met Office central...
SHIFT Team environmental report

Social landlords and SECR

From the beginning of the financial year 2019/20, the Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018 applies. This new legislation extends the carbon reporting obligations from quoted companies to also...
Climate change and our long-term wellbeing

Climate change and our long-term wellbeing

This article was originally written for National Housing Federation to promote their board excellence conference: The latest UK statistics show that we emit over 350 million tonnes CO2 per year.  That’s a very big number, but what does it mean? To relay the importance...
Green spaces and biodiversity offsetting

Green spaces and biodiversity offsetting

Green spaces are hugely important to people.  As well as providing a place of recreation, they also provide a degree of flood attenuation, summer cooling, air cleansing, biodiversity and carbon sequestration.  All these benefits are increased when the amount of...
Net zero carbon road map for Two Rivers Housing Group

Net zero carbon road map for Two Rivers Housing Group

Over 280 local and major councils have declared a climate emergency in 2019 alone and many housing associations are looking to identify what they can do to ensure they are responding positively to council ambitions for carbon reduction. With the Forest of Dean...
Sustainability and Value For Money

Sustainability and Value For Money

At our recent SHIFT event entitled, “Sustainability and Value For Money”, we heard from specialist speakers who highlighted the financial benefits to social landlords from pursuing environmental strategies. Representatives from 18 housing associations managing over...
How we went around the world and saved 6 tonnes of carbon

How we went around the world and saved 6 tonnes of carbon

For various reasons, including our carbon footprint, we decided on a staycation this year.  The accommodation was our own home and no long car journeys or plane rides were involved.  We “visited” 5 countries, had a couple of ‘resort days’, (i.e. chill out and mooch...
Funding for heat pump monitoring

Funding for heat pump monitoring

Suss Housing has received this message from PassivSystems. Please note, this is not necessarily an endorsement from Suss Housing, we are merely highlighting a funding opportunity. PassivSystems are delighted to announce the launch of their new heat pump monitoring...