Monday 18 January 2021

How social housing can reach net zero by using energy management to cut carbon

How social housing can reach net zero by using energy management to cut carbon

Every month, or quarter, finance teams within residential social landlords (RSLs) are faced with the challenge of accurately attributing the cost of energy use of both residential dwellings and communal areas. It is an area that causes the most concern and consternation for RSLs, specifically the service charge manager.

So are RSLs getting it right? Bluntly, many are not, and are simply dividing the number of dwellings by the overall energy cost, be it communal or district heating, and adding it to the service charge.

SSE Enterprise’s work with many housing associations, along with a team of in-house technical experts, helps us to model solutions that deliver efficiencies, and savings in the service charge, that benefit residents. These benefits will be recognised in improved STAR (Survey of Tenants and Residents) surveys, support the process towards net zero and help those RSLs that have a focus on the standard assessment procedure (SAP) as their key drivers.

[caption id="attachment_216500" align="alignnone" width="1201"] Image: SSE[/caption]

Added to the above is the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 20143, which require social landlords to ensure that MID-approved heat meters are installed in tenanted dwellings to provide accurate billing.

Key to the future success of many housing associations, which benefits tenants and residents too, is reduced administration including void management and service charges as well as eliminating manual meter readings.

SSE Energy Management Centre

At SSE Enterprise, we believe we’re perfectly positioned to support housing associations in all the challenges that lay ahead.

We constantly monitor buildings via a remote connection to our Energy Management Centre (EMC). This 24/7 365 facility is set up to ensure buildings are running at maximum efficiency.

The EMC is a UK-based technical help-desk manned by engineers providing:

  • Real-time monitoring of building energy management system (BEMS) outputs
  • Critical alarm monitoring and escalation
  • Rapid response remote fix
  • On-site engineer dispatch and management
  • Building health checks and health reports
  • Global change initiatives
  • Brand agnostic approach with all BEMS catered for: EMC can communicate remotely with any BEMS

Tenant billing

SSE Enterprise’s in-house built tenant billing platform captures the needs not only of residents but also the legal obligations of heat metering regulations:

  • Billing report
  • Flat consumption utility
  • Summary
  • Flat energy comparison
  • Flat statement
  • Heat contribution
  • Negative balance housing association
  • Packaged plant room heat contribution
  • Tenant usage and spend

System benefits

To the housing association:

  • Understanding of energy centre plant costs against building load consumption
  • Visibility of energy usage per flat(s)
  • Option to monitor buildings energy centre 24/7 remotely, reducing on-site call-out resource
  • A suite of energy and revenue reports
  • Vulnerable tenant flag, allows housing association to keep track of vulnerable people
  • Social responsibility helping reduce fuel poverty and manage debt
  • Easy tariff management and ability to set a fair tariff policy
  • Tenant flat statement

To the tenant:

  • Flexible and trusted methods of payments
  • Emergency credit facility
  • Adjustable flat temperature control
  • Visibility of the tenant’s current room temperature
  • Ability to manage energy spend closely (daily)

The above is the starting point for housing associations to contribute toward 2050 net zero targets.

If you want to find out more about SSE Enterprise’s remote energy management, or client billing, visit


2 Based on 50 working weeks per year, a five-day week, and eight hours per day

3 Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014,

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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