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Three pillars of importance: The NHDG ‘s impact on Net Zero targets

Since launching in July 2023, the National Home Decarbonisation Group (NHDG) has solidified itself as an industry leader in delivering the high-quality energy efficiency measures at scale to help the UK strive toward its ambitious net zero targets. Here, the NHDG’s chair Derek Horrocks describes how even amid a tumultuous economic climate with wayward discourse, members of the NHDG have maintained momentum by keeping to its solid, three pillar foundation.

NHDG is an industry leader in delivering the high-quality energy efficiency measures at scale to help the UK strive toward its ambitious net zero targets.

Derek Horrocks

Pillar one: Green skills

Ultimately, it’s estimated we need another 200,000 competent energy-efficiency and low-carbon technology retrofitters by 2030 to have the capacity to meet our goals. While feasible, skills and training remains the biggest barrier to be broken down to reach this amount.

We can make construction the most alluring job choice of all, but to secure those people coming in, we currently fall short in providing the courses and clear pathways to the qualifications of the future.

Fortunately, so long as they adhere to national occupational criteria, the NHDG aims to help those developing the specialist courses we need to meet this target. The group has the scale, resources, willingness, and ability to invest through dozens of large member organisations that represent the majority of projects delivered at scale across all residential tenures. It’s here wherein lies the opportunity to combine the efforts of members for maximum output, rather than individual efforts achieving the minimum.

For some training providers, it can be challenging to guarantee enrolment in specific courses in particular regions. This is an opportunity NHDG members – our Tier 1 contractors and other large energy companies – to unlock what smaller organisations cannot fulfil. Their ability to commit a certain number of people in their supply chains to be trained in specific skills provides guarantee for training providers to run courses, while also having the expertise to help them develop the new courses and qualifications that are required.

This will ultimately increase course viability and develop skills where they are required, which will then cascade down supply chains and have a positive social impact on communities as well as a positive environmental impact for all.

Pillar two: Policy

Had the policy required to meet our net zero goals been in place, the likelihood of the NHDG’s voice being so loud in the energy efficiency sphere last year would have been far smaller.

While significant progress in this sector has been made in recent years with shining highlights such as the £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), last year’s landscape was also marked with uncertainty.

In quarter three last year the government announced changes to green initiatives and targets that were widely considered backpedalling. Naturally, we were strongly against this, worried that the changes would risk losing the momentum that had been developed since the net zero targets were agreed upon.

As leaders in the energy efficiency field, it’s our responsibility to work with government to ensure it provides the long term stimulus that is required to enable the private sector to invest at the scale needed. Alone, our NHDG members each have the expertise and authority to advise on government policy where required, however combined, we share a voice that is much larger, louder, and more difficult to ignore.

To this end, we took several steps as a group last year to address the policy we feel needed addressing. This included a letter to the Prime Minister calling for already committed funding to be brought forward to provide certainty, and likewise, we also held a collaborative parliamentary reception in the House of Lords to discuss long term solutions at length in December.NHDG is an industry leader in delivering the high-quality energy efficiency measures at scale to help the UK strive toward its ambitious net zero targets.

Pillar three: Innovation

The third pillar the NHDG has built its foundation upon is innovation. Whichever way it is cut, the technology and capability we have currently will likely not be enough to meet our targets. However, new advancements are being made every day, but the investment and incentives are needed to support them in their maturity stage.

Significant momentum has been built over recent years – we cannot let it go to waste. Many contractors and housing providers have invested huge amounts of time, resource and money to invest in the innovation and processes to carry out the work needed – in many cases shaping business plans when it comes to investing in those resources.

It’s important that we further the agenda to provide home decarbonisation at scale more quickly and efficiently than ever. Collaboration at scale and a community-driven approach are definitely key to this. Our members bring together the major leaders in the housing decarbonisation space, with Tier 1 contractors and energy suppliers. These organisations will be critical to the success of home decarbonisation, with an estimation that they will carry out more than 80% of the large-scale domestic retrofit in the UK.

For innovation to continue and thrive, there must be confidence in the market. This means comprehensive support and investment, which provides the security needed for product development, and in turn helps avoid the negative impacts of excessively cold or warm homes as temperature changes shift more dramatically.

As the leading body in the housing decarbonisation sector, with many of the industry’s heavyweights among our members, we’re committed to supporting the government in maintaining the significant momentum built in recent years.

To find out more about the National Homes Decarbonisation Group, visit the website.

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