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Date published: 29 November 2023

The affordable housing provider invited representatives from housing associations, councils, and developers from across the UK to discuss the challenges faced by the industry as it journeys towards achieving net zero-carbon by 2050 and explore potential solutions to common issues.

The Sustainable Zero Carbon Future for Social Housing conference provided attendees with a unique opportunity to network with other participants and hear why the GCoE was created.

Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater’s Chief Growth & Development Officer, and Vicki March, Greenoak Housing Association’s Director of Development & Sustainability, officially launched the national centre of excellence, explaining how it will build on the two organisations’ expertise, pioneer exemplar projects, evaluate measured outcomes, and disseminate learning across the sector.

Stonewater’s Chief Executive Officer, Nicholas Harris, also addressed the delegates, outlining why it is vital that sustainability sits at the heart of the organisation’s business strategy and how the plan was developed to enable all carbon reduction opportunities to be seized.

Nicholas said: “At Stonewater and Greenoak we strongly believe that, while sustainability and the transition to net zero-carbon is clearly a challenge, it also brings opportunities to develop innovative new products and approaches, provide new services, and meet the changing needs of customers and businesses.

“By working together through the Greenoak Centre of Excellence, the housing sector has a great opportunity to put itself on the path towards genuine sustainability, futureproofing and accelerating the provision of truly energy efficient and sustainable homes.”

L to R: Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive – Stonewater, Martin Large, Chairman of Greenoak Housing Association, Jonathan Layzell, Chief Growth & Development Officer – Stonewater, Vicki March, Director of Development - Greenoak Housing Association

Martin Large, Chairman of Greenoak Housing Association, added: “The national centre of excellence will play a critical role in supporting the housing sector to find innovative solutions to the climate change crisis. The first event was a huge success, and we are looking forward to working with other housing providers to make a positive difference to our customers and the environment as we journey towards a net zero carbon future.”

Inspiring insights were shared by guest speakers with a wealth of knowledge of, and experience with, sustainability in the housing sector. They discussed future-proofing new and existing homes to mitigate further environmental damage and ensure that both houses and businesses remain resilient.

Group discussions explored building standards, new technologies, and how the industry can work together to create a circular and sustainable housing economy.