Communities leading to Net Zero

Research and opinion | 3 November 2021

Home K Research and opinion K Communities leading to Net Zero

During COP26 we are publishing a new study that finds Community Land Trusts and other community led housing groups are aiming to outperform both the national minimum energy standards and higher local authority standards where they exist.

With funding from Power to Change, we commissioned sustainability experts HoyleDean to study the planning documents and drawings for a random sample of projects that have planning permission. They compared the specifications to national and local standards as best they could, and reached the cautious conclusion that communities are almost certainly leading the way to Net Zero by aiming for higher standards.

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Highest reduction in CO2

Highest household CO2 emissions savings (kg)

Highest household energy bill saving (£)

Cornwall CLT was included in the study, and has built over 230 affordable homes in an area where house prices are out of kilter with local wages. The homes are affordable but they all also have a charter which means all homes incorporate high standards of energy-efficiency and ecology. The homes are not only affordable but also cheaper to run. Another 50 homes are in progress.

We know that communities want to tackle the climate crisis, and now we have evidence that they are taking a lead when building new homes. 

They are even managing to go for high standards with challenging affordable housing projects, in a market that is tough for new entrants. Give communities control and they will prioritise quality and sustainability.

Communities can help the Government to drive higher standards, building skills and supply chains to hit net zero. But they need the Government to extend the Community Housing Fund, helping new entrants develop projects to the point where they can access mainstream grants and lending.

Tom Chance

Chief Executive, Community Land Trust Network

Community Land Trust Network members can access advice and resources to improve the environmental performance, including a completely rewritten Affordable Housing handbook which we will launch at our AGM later this month. Read about our membership service for more information.