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We are in a climate emergency and Connect is committed to driving a fair transition to lower carbon emissions, both across our business and by supporting residents to change behaviours. Carbon emissions from human activity are responsible for warming the planet and causing a range of negative impacts, including extreme weather events. We all need to act quickly to try and limit these impacts.

For Connect, sustainability is about inclusivity; it is about and for everyone, so we need to empower people to ensure that no-one is left behind.

Read below for answers to some of our most common questions. If you have questions related to climate change please get in touch on oneplanet@connecthousing.org.uk

We have aligned our work to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Our journey to a more sustainable future means adapting and building resilience to the changing climate, so you’ll start to see some big changes in the coming years.

  • We’ll start to build more sustainable homes, and make changes to the homes you already live in so they're more energy efficient (which will also make heating them more affordable).
  • We’ll start to make the green spaces around your homes better for native wildlife, including bee friendly plants.
  • We are going to be making our offices more efficient and changing the way we work to support reduced travel.

We have committed to some very ambitious targets.

Carbon Neutral by 2025 (organisational emissions): this means we will have some ethical offsetting at this point. We are reducing our office energy and fleet emissions for example.

Net-Zero by 2030 (organisational emissions): this means we will get our footprint as low as we possibly can. We will have moved to an energy efficient office in Leeds, encouraged colleagues to use public transport and switched to an electric fleet of vans.

Net-Zero by 250(including homes): this includes the impact of the homes we own. We are supporting residents to reduce their carbon footprint alongside a massive retrofit roll-out to make the buildings more energy efficient over the next few decades.

More detail: Strategy | Change plan | Year one progress report | Carbon footprint

We are really pleased to see more interest in electric/hybrid vehicles. Making this switch reduces carbon emissions from burning petrol and diesel, improves air quality and can save you money.

If you have a private driveway which can contain your vehicle while it's charging, then you can probably get permission to install a charger.

There are a few requirements that you’ll have to meet, including ensuring the installation is compliant with UK regulations and carried out by a registered provider. You will have to provide us with an electrical safety certificate too. Get in touch via the usual phone number / email address to find out more.

If you're interested in having an electric charging point in your car park then we want to hear from you! We know that as more of us switch to electric vehicles we'll need electric charging points in communal parking spaces.

We're in the early stages of looking at how communal charging points would work as we'd need a way to charge the correct individual for electricity used. We're hoping install our first communal charging points as part of a pilot scheme to learn what works well, and then roll out to a wider number of locations. If we know there is demand for charging points at a location this can help us choose where to install them.

When we install communal chargers we will be engaging with the community to try and ensure that these spaces are left available for electric vehicles.

Solar panels are a great way to generate renewable electricity. They reduce the carbon emissions from burning coal and gas, which is how electricity is traditionally generated.

We're not able to install solar panels based on requests from residents. However, we've already installed some solar panels and are working to increase the number of properties with solar panels on the roof. We will be assessing the location and the roof orientation of properties, and will prioritise the ones which will get the greatest benefit from solar panels.

If you are wanting to install solar panels at your own expense, we recommend that you get in contact with us to discuss your specific property and circumstances. It would be unusual to do this as you may leave the property before you have earned the money back from having the panels installed.

We're experiencing a rapidly rising cost of living and we know that reducing energy costs is something residents are particularly interested in.

Adopting small behaviour changes to save energy could result in lower bills and will reduce your carbon footprint to help tackle climate change.

  • Set thermostat below 19°C if possible. It is extremely expensive to heat your home to 21°C or higher.
  • Setting a higher temperature won't heat your home faster.
  • Avoid use of other heaters/fires, these are not as efficient and will greatly increase your bills.
  • Keep windows and doors shut - only open to remove moisture from cooking, drying clothes or showering.
  • Reduce the flow temperature if you have a combi boiler (find a temperature that suits you ~45-60°C).
  • Only boil the water you need.
  • Wash clothes at 30°C and use short cycles.
  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Only use LED light bulbs.

Email the Money Matters team for financial support at moneymatters@connecthousing.org.uk

Climate change presents a very real threat to our safety and way of life. We all need to play our part in moving very quickly to try and limit the negative impacts in our lifetime, and for future generations.

We need to make changes to all our homes in order to reduce how much energy they use.

This is a huge project for Connect. We have to spend around £60 million on essential changes to 3000+ homes, over the next 20+ years, to make them more energy efficient (called retrofit), and to help protect you from the impacts of climate change.

This work will reduce your carbon emissions by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat your home to a comfortable level. Alongside this work, we'll support you in adopting energy efficient behaviours which are required following the work to see a reduction in energy bills.

We'll prioritise the least efficient properties and tailor the work to each home.

Improvements could include:

  • Insulation (internal/external/cavity).
  • Draught proofing.
  • Replacement doors or windows.
  • Heating replacements (including air source heat pumps).
  • Renewable energy installations (e.g. solar panels).

It's essential that we can access your home to carry out work when the time comes, but we'll limit disruption as much as possible.

The world is experiencing a biodiversity crisis. This means we're losing plant & animal species as fast as during the extinction of the dinosaurs. This is due to green spaces being lost or broken up, pesticide use and climate change. Insects like bees play an essential role in pollination, which plants and crops need to survive. Fewer insects poses a threat to our food supply.

Connect has committed to increasing the variety of plant species in community green spaces, to provide more opportunities for wildlife to thrive and to allow you to use them more. In spring 2022 we worked with residents to complete projects in four of our communities.

Some of the plants we added include: Fruit trees, forsythia, dogwood, sedum, hebe, verbena, potentilla, lavender, fennel, yarrow, oxeye daisy, meadow buttercup, sorrel, white & red campion, yellow rattle, wild carrot, salad burnet and cowslip.

We work with the Conservation Volunteers, a charity who use money earned from projects like this to invest in local communities. They connect people with green spaces to spend time with others and learn new skills, whilst also improving the environment.

Your garden could provide a fantastic home for threatened wildlife. So many species will go extinct in our lifetime, but by protecting many different species, we can reduce the negative effects this will have on us.

Try to have a variety of plants and bee-friendly flowers in gardens or pots. Allow areas to grow wild and only mow in winter (between September and March) where possible. Long grasses and wildflowers are low-maintenance and great for pollinators, you could even take part in No Mow May.

This article offers a bit more help on choosing the right flowers for your garden - even a small space can help bees and butterflies.

You can also help by reporting the wildlife you can see in your garden:

RSPB Big Birdwatch: Count the birds in your garden for an hour each January. You can also find information about encouraging birds to your garden and what to feed them on the RSPB website.

Big Butterfly Count: Count how many butterflies you can spot in 15 minutes, each July.

These nationwide surveys contribute to essential research so don't forget to submit your results online!

Building bug or bee hotels and installing bird and bat boxes are a great way to support wildlife. You could even make a hedgehog home if you’re feeling creative!

Scientists and governments agree that we only have a very short amount of time left to stop the worst impacts of climate change. We've already locked-in some negative impacts so we're already experiencing heatwaves, floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events more frequently, and unfortunately this will lead to suffering and loss of life.

But we have hope! If we all act now to change our behaviours and make sure that the government is acting to protect us by supporting these changes as quickly as possible, then we can limit global warming and avoid some of the worst impacts.

Some of the things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint are:

  • Use public transport.
  • Reduce the temperature of your heating at home, put on an extra jumper before you turn up the heat.
  • Reduce the amount of meat in your diet. Go vegetarian for a day a week and try to make some plant based switches, it’s good for your health too!

If you are already doing some of these, that’s fantastic! Can you talk to your friends and family about making these changes too.

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Connect Housing Association Limited is a charitable association registered in England and Wales under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (Company No. IP17445R) and with the Regulator of Social Housing (No. L2285).

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