Carbon Zero has to start with good data

In this article, Andy Flook, Business Development Director at Sava discusses the struggles housing providers are facing around legislative changes and their data; and addresses the journey of overcoming these issues.

footprint of their existing housing stock as until they know where they are, it’s not worth thinking about where they are going. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say we’re in


a challenging time where we are surrounded by government papers and legislation driving action on tackling fuel poverty with a push for more energy efficient housing stock and maintenance of fair fuel pricing policies, as well as providing funding mechanisms such as ECO or the Green Homes Grant to encourage improvements to properties. The Clean Growth Strategy and the Ten Point Plan has set the scene for the long term aims of improving and decarbonising our working and living environments. All these changes are positive, to some extent, and as an aside from the consistent and justifiable argument that the government are not doing enough, it is without question that most of these legislative drivers are driving behaviour in the right direction. However, what is especially challenging, is how we can pull everything together in a meaningful way to ensure that whilst we are working effectively towards clean growth targets, we are also making appropriate decisions around tackling fuel poverty and ensuring that we are drawing on any funding opportunities such as ECO or the Green Homes Grant to assist with any budgetary constraints for stock improvement activity.

SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES Housing providers responsible for maintaining properties face a continuous struggle managing their housing data to enable strategic improvement

he decarbonisation journey is a daunting one to consider, many organisations are still trying to get to grips with the carbon

decisions for their stock as a whole, as well as considering each property and tenant in isolation. There is no silver bullet and whilst specific Asset Management System software exists to assist, ultimately, it is the quality of data available, the effective consolidation of data sets from different sources (e.g. EPCs, Gas Safe Certificates, Condition surveys, Maintenance paperwork etc.), and confidence in the information presented, that is vital in successfully managing and improving housing stock. Software products like Sava’s ‘Intelligent Energy’ can certainly help with planning the improvements and future costings, but it all has to start with a dataset you have belief in. Gathering accurate insight of the properties by

physically going out and inspecting them can often be quite fragmented and not always provide reliable and consistent information. This is predominantly because it is likely the individual visiting the property is capturing the data required as a by- product of the intended reason for the visit. For instance, when a heating engineer visits 7 or 8 properties each day to conduct servicing or maintenance, spending additional time to check the boiler, controls, associated services and overall condition for data purposes is not always at the top of their agenda. App-based data capture has certainly helped the situation, but there is still a lot that can be done, particularly in terms of educating field teams on the importance of capturing accurate and reflective information and understanding the consequences of not doing so. 100 per cent data quality, 100 per cent confidence

Andy Flook, Business Development Director at Sava

in the data and 100 per cent effective consolidation of data from multiple sources sounds ideal, however for most of us it is a bit of a holy grail. That said,

50 | HMM April/May 2021 |

much like any huge task, taking baby steps in the right direction and consistently striving to increase our percentages in each of these areas can make the vision a reality. We need to accept it will certainly be a journey and to get started we should be lining up each piece of legislation in front of us and considering all elements appropriately before making any big decisions. During the process, we should start to feel an improved level of confidence in the data from which we act upon. It is certainly still the case that many of the Housing Providers I speak with have not quite established enough confidence to rely solely on utilising their Asset Management Systems for making effective decisions around their stock, and I’m sure there will still be a big pile of spreadsheets acting as an in-house security blanket in the meantime. But the evolving world of big data means we must begin working towards a consolidated, single version of the truth. We do not need to look too far back into the past to recall when a vast array of the incoming information regarding our stock that came from void inspections, inventories, improvement work and so on, was just written down on a piece of paper and often completely illegible. So, on reflection, we have made progress but there is still a lot more progress we can make, and we need to act sooner rather than later to reach the end goal. If you would like to speak to Sava about how we

can help you work towards consolidated data and mapping out your Carbon Zero journey then please get in touch at We would be happy to have an informal chat about how we can assist you.

01908 672787

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