Together Housing has been named Regional Housing Association of the Year at the North West Energy Efficiency Awards after completing energy-saving improvements to over 900 properties in 2019/20.

The housing association, which operates across northern England, has pioneered the use of ground source heat pumps in social housing, delivering the largest and most ambitious retrofit ground source heat pump programme of its kind.

This project has seen 900 ground source heat pumps installed in place of electric storage heaters at 12 locations across Lancashire and Yorkshire. The scheme has increased comfort levels and lowered heating costs by an average of 45% for hundreds of residents, a high proportion of whom are vulnerable.

The ground source heating systems will significantly cut carbon emissions in the social housing provider’s property portfolio. The total lifetime carbon savings of the project is calculated as upwards of 44,858 tonnes of CO2.

Together Housing is also at the forefront of solar PV and battery technology. In its pilot project in Lancashire, this technology is estimated to be saving each household up to 60% on their electricity bills, as well as an average saving of 558kg of CO2 emissions per year. This is about the same weight as an early classic Mini.

Patrick Berry, who is leading on carbon reduction at Together Housing Group, said, “We are honoured to have won this award. Currently, housing is a big contributor to the UK’s carbon footprint. With these projects we have been aiming to show how the carbon footprint of social housing can be reduced on a larger scale, whilst keeping tenants at the heart of what we do.

“We have ambitious plans in the future to continue to expand our energy-saving projects to the benefit of the environment as well as tenants.”

As part of an ambitious long-term Carbon Reduction Strategy, Together Housing is launching a communications campaign, Go Green Together, to raise tenants’ awareness of the impacts of everyday activities on carbon emissions.

In its strategy, the housing association aims to reduce its carbon impact by 50% by 2030, as well as achieve a minimum EPC C standard in existing stock and EPC A in new builds.