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Net-Zero by 2050

The UK government has set the ambitious goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Changing the way we heat buildings – including homes and apartments- will be key to achieving this. In fact, home heating is currently responsible for 17% of the UK’s CO2 emissions, and in order to decarbonise the economy, the UK needs to reduce the carbon emissions from heating homes by 95% in the next 30 years. 

 Housing associations have a role to play in this decarbonisation journey too. As well as being responsible for providing safe and affordable homes to tenants, making energy efficient choices will help housing associations to cut carbon and future proof the homes they manage. In the current context of rising energy prices, it’s also more important than ever for housing associations to embrace heating solutions that keep the bills down – and reduce reliance on gas and oil. This is why heat pumps are the future for social housing. 

Decarbonise with heat pump technology 

Luckily, a solution that can make residential heating more efficient and keep bills down is already available – in the form of heat pumps. 

By extracting low-level heat energy from the air or ground, heat pumps can raise the water to target temperature, using just a small amount of electricity. For every 1kW of electrical energy used, heat pumps can produce at least 3kW of heat energy.  Some heat pumps are used to supply low-temperature space heating, while others can deliver water at temperature up to 90 degrees.  

Heat pumps are a lower-carbon heating alternative to gas boilers and are an effective solution for housing associations to reduce the environmental impact of heating, while keeping costs down for tenants. With a unit installed in each apartment or home, tenants have control of their own heating and hot water production – and the systems can run at a low enough sound level

Housing associations are on the path to net zero 

One example of heat pumps used for social housing is at ClwydAlyn housing association in Wales. The association has been providing social housing in North and mid-Wales for over forty years. With almost half of all households in Wales currently suffering from fuel poverty due to the energy crisis, according to National Energy Action (NEA), finding ways to cut energy bills – while promoting sustainability- has been vital.  

ClwydAlyn designs its new properties with sustainability in mind and has now been using Mitsubishi Electric’s Ecodan air source heat pumps for a few years to decarbonise its social housing stock and help residents save money on their energy bill. Most of the association’s newly built properties use heat pumps rather than any fossil fuels, and most recently, 63 properties built by developer Williams Homes Bala on the new ClwydAlyn Glasdir site in Ruthin have been built with Ecodan air source heat pumps providing heating and hot water to each individual home. The properties are of various types and sizes – from apartments and adapted bungalows to semi-detached and detached homes – and the heat pumps are able to meet the needs of every different space.  

Working in partnership with the Welsh government and Denbighshire County Council, ClwydAlyn has been able to offer its tenants not just warmth and comfort, but with the economical nature of the heat pumps, they also provide reassurance that it will hopefully generate annual savings on their energy bills. ClwydAlyn are a great of example of how to decarbonise social housing and in turn, helping reduce both carbon emissions and energy bills for their tenants. 

George Clarke visits social housing provider, ClwydAlyn George Clarke visits ClwydAlyn, a leading housing association in Wales, to find out how they're using Mitsubishi Electric's Ecodan air source heat pumps to reduce fuel poverty and decarbonise their housing stock.

The importance of sustainable social housing

The cost of living crisis and rising fuel prices are continuing to impact the UK, and in particular those who are the most vulnerable. Housing associations play an important role in providing safe and affordable housing to those who need it – and investing in sustainable heating technologies is an effective way to keep tenants comfortable at the same time as keeping both energy costs and usage low. Therefore, heat pumps are ideal for housing associations as they: 


  • Offer a more efficient approach to heating & cooling homes 
  • Are perfect for community district schemes 
  • Can ease the fuel poverty crisis 
  • Help reach net-zero targets  

ClwydAlyn housing association has shown that a large scale installation of heat pumps in social housing, across a range of properties can make a significant impact on tenants’ bills – while keeping environmental impact at front of mind. 


Why not take a look at some of our Housing Association Case Studies?

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