Wates launches retrofit pledge to boost energy efficiency

Wates has pledged to make energy efficiency in social housing a key part of its work in the coming years.

The contractor’s new pledge, Wates Retrofit, will focus on retrofitting the “vast” number of social homes in the UK that need work ahead of the government’s ambition to reach net zero by 2050.

This will involve all three of Wates’ arms – Wates Residential, Wates Living Space and Wates Property Services.

Wates Living Space will offer help to customers with funding applications, including to the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) and the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Scheme.

The business has successfully installed energy-efficiency measures at 531 homes since it started focusing on retrofitting in 2020. It also has a further 856 efficiency projects in progress, and more than 1,000 at the assessment and design phase.

In total, it secured £10m to deliver energy-efficiency measures to more than 1,000 social housing properties in February.

An estimated 26 million homes need to be retrofitted to meet the government’s target of reaching net zero by 2050.

Wates Property Services executive managing director David Morgan said the majority of the five million social houses in the UK are “decades old” and in need of work to improve their sustainability value.

“With the launch of Wates Retrofit, we make a pledge to elevate our retrofit service for both domestic and non-domestic clients,” he said.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with them to navigate grant and funding streams, ensure compliance and connect them with our specialist supply-chain partners.

“Our aim is to help our clients reduce their carbon emissions, but within this vital objective is another pressing issue: families are facing rising energy costs. Helping to address this makes our retrofit work even more important to our business,” Morgan added.

The pledge rollout is the contractor’s latest move in the push towards sustainability, with the group celebrating its 125th anniversary this week.

In 2020, Wates Group committed to a 2025 target of zero waste and zero carbon, through the elimination of waste on sites and the decarbonisation of operations and operational vehicles. It also pledged to contribute positively to the natural environment and benefit local communities.

In November 2021, Wates hired Balfour Beatty’s associate director for sustainability, Bekir Andrews, as its environmental sustainability director, in a brand new role.

Earlier this year, Wates became one of a growing number of contractors to secure a sustainability-linked loan, worth £90m.

The terms of the loan require that the margins on which it is borrowed are linked to three key performance indicators (KPIs), one of which focuses on improving sustainability in construction. The other two focus on diversity and social value commitments.

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