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Yorkshire Housing and Adecoe case study

Yorkshire Housing worked with Adecoe and MHA in 2020 to carry out a pioneering project in creating their pathway towards net zero carbon housing. We wanted to be ahead of the curve in not only complying with new building standards, but in establishing a clear and effective roadmap towards net zero carbon. It will enable us to reduce carbon emissions and residents’ energy bills whilst also limiting the need to carry out high disruption retrofit work in the future.

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Key facts/highlights

  • The project came at a time of key changes within the current and future regulatory landscape including anticipated amendments to Building Regulations Parts L and F later this year, The Future Homes Standards in 2025 and the government’s commitment to net zero carbon by 2050.
  • The project involved in-depth environmental modelling of several different house types and development of a performance specification for construction of housing at each stage of the proposed pathway.
  • A series of workshops were carried out to engage stakeholders at each level to enable a pathway which works with the operational and financial requirements of the organisation, ensuring a truly sustainable solution.
  • Key challenges included weighing up initial capital cost on high performing fabric with reducing the need for future retrofit and in balancing the need for low carbon heating systems with trying to keep tenants bills as low as possible to tackle issues around fuel poverty.
  • It was found that although all the technologies are available to make zero carbon happen now, it is the operational and asset management requirements of social housing as well as upfront capital costs that act as the main barriers towards building to net zero at this time.
  • Another key issue was found with form of construction and the lack of developed supply chain and skills within the construction industry to implement modern construction methods on a mass house-building scale at a truly competitive rate.
  • The resultant roadmap is open and flexible, allowing plenty of opportunity for new technologies to be incorporated at each stage and a key part of the strategy is learning through trial projects and Post Occupancy Evaluation.
  • It is envisaged that the roadmap will develop and evolve over the next decade and that YH are going to be key players in contributing towards much needed sector research in building towards net zero carbon.

Summary of net zero/low carbon standards, materials, net zero technologies

  • The roadmap has taken a phased approach in order to comply with changes to Parts L and F of the Building Regulations in 2021, The Future Homes Standard in 2025 and Net Zero Carbon in 2050.
  • A Fabric-First approach was taken to limit the need for future retrofit. This included very low U-values and high levels of air tightness, along with mechanical ventilation.
  • Air Source Heat Pumps were found to be the preferred low carbon heating option for new homes, providing a good balance between value, usability and carbon savings.
  • PV is to be incorporated into all new build developments
  • Off site construction was explored as part of the project and is likely to play a key role in the future of YHA new build homes.

General environmental ambitions from Yorkshire Housing

1. Transition away from fossil fuelled (gas combi boilers) in new homes from 2021 onwards (zero carbon standard) – reducing our homes carbon consumption. We will move to carbon free air source heat pumps to provide heating and hot water to our homes.

2. Homes will be better insulated and in most cases include a Solar PV panel to generate electricity for the home and reduce customer energy bills.

3. From 2025 all our new homes (including section 106 acquisitions) will be fully non-fossil fuelled, have enhanced insulation levels, Solar PV and triple glazing.

4. We have ambitions to build our first net-zero carbon homes from 2026 – putting us in a great place to meet the 2050 Net Zero Carbon Government obligation for all homes.

5. We are exploring smart technology to support the reduction in energy usage in our homes (potential for smart heating controls / lighting)

6. Most new homes in our development programme will feature Electric Car Charging points installed and many have Solar PV

Key information

Project name

Yorkshire Housing Future New Home Standard



Project type (e.g. new build)

New Build Performance Standard

Sector (e.g. social housing, private, mixed)

Social Housing

Size/no. of dwellings

To deliver towards an 8000 home programme

Project stage (e.g. planning, design)


Key dates (e.g. start date, completion date)

May-December 2020


Project team


Yorkshire Housing


Michael Hyde Associates

Engineers/consultants (M&E, energy etc.)


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