Energy Efficiency

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 75–92 | Cite as

Making it viable: exploring the influence of organisational context on efforts to achieve deep carbon emission cuts in existing UK social housing

  • Andrew ReevesEmail author


Over coming decades, deep reductions in carbon emissions will be required from existing social housing as part of the UK’s effort to combat climate change. The ability of social landlords to carry out interventions to achieve these emission cuts is strongly influenced by the context in which they operate. This paper reports the results of a 3-year participant observation study of one UK social landlord, undertaken with the aim of identifying contextual factors that either support or hinder its ability to carry out carbon reduction interventions. The results indicate that a lack of funds to finance the required interventions is the most significant barrier to the achievement of deep emission cuts. Other key issues identified include the lack of a strong drive to act from government, a need for increased internal capacity to enable landlords to deliver and manage carbon reduction interventions and a low level of interest from residents in achieving emission cuts. These results lead to a number of recommendations for policymakers: to mandate action on the part of social landlords to achieve high levels of energy efficiency in their stock, to intervene in the market to make the required interventions financially viable and to put forward policies and long-term goals that will enable social landlords and householders to view stock refurbishment as part of a society-wide effort to decarbonise existing housing.


Domestic energy efficiency Existing social housing Carbon emission reduction Organisational context 



Combined heat and power


Energy services company


Greater London Authority


Key performance indicator


Registered social landlord


Sustainable Homes Index for Tomorrow



This research has been carried out through an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded industrial CASE studentship, delivered through the Integration of New and Renewable Energy in Buildings Faraday partnership, with support from Peabody. Thanks are due to Kate Irvine and Paul Fleming at De Montfort University for feedback on previous drafts and to Rob Wall, Simon Taylor, Ian Worthington, Andrew Wallace and Beverly Allan at De Montfort University for providing useful support. Thanks also to everyone at Peabody for their collaboration and assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Energy and Sustainable DevelopmentDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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