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Let's work together to respond to the climate emergency



Disclaimer-This is the independent Spotlight view. It does not necessarily represent the views of Origin management.

Hi from Origin Housing’s Spotlight Panel. We’re residents from Origin properties in various parts of London and Hertfordshire. And we work to find improvements and solutions that will benefit residents and strengthen Origin Housing’s culture and values.

You’ve probably noticed that up till now the whole Climate Change and Sustainability challenge has not had a high profile in Origin’s activities. And yet, you’ve also no doubt noticed that this summer we’ve had a record-breaking heatwave, record-breaking energy costs and a record-breaking shortage of water here in the southeast of England.

Moreover, pollution of our air, our water and our land continues to rise. And we aren’t even meeting the local targets for re-cycling.
And you’ve also undoubtedly heard that there has been so little change in our collective performance that our planet has moved towards Climate Emergency status.
And – talking with individual residents who aren’t Spotlight members, it’s clear that many are only too aware of the scale of the damage we are doing collectively.
What’s hard to see is how to make a difference as individuals. However, have you ever considered the following:

  • Could we as Origin Housing residents collectively save a lot of money if we used less fossil-fuel energy to heat or cool our homes, and to store and prepare food?
  • Could our homes create less pollution, not only outside but also inside, if they were properly insulated and better maintained?
  • Could we spend less money on transport if we didn’t feel we needed a car? And could we contribute less to poor local air quality?
  • If local re-cycling was easier to do correctly, could we have less mess, better air quality and lower Council taxes?
  • If the grounds and plants around our buildings were more thoughtfully managed and maintained, could there be less carbon dioxide in the air, less air pollution, less need for watering plants and a more health-promoting local environment? 

And this list is just for starters.
A year ago nearly 20 social housing residents in the north of England came together to create a “Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury”. They produced a report towards the end of 2021, with 25 Recommendations.
Their first recommendation says:
“There is a real need to take into account the urgency of the issue of climate change, and installation programmes need to be quicker. Protocols need to change to speed things up. While also taking the greatest of care that mistakes are not made which would have to be undone later on.”

Tenants-Climate-Jury-Report.pdf (northern-consortium.org.uk)

So why aren’t Origin Housing residents and staff already working like this?
The groundwork is partly there. If you’re sceptical, let’s have a look at Origin Housing’s Purpose: To provide decent, affordable homes for those in need and to offer support and opportunities to individuals and communities to help build better lives.
As are the six aspects of culture and values that Origin Housing now embraces as the foundations for quality of life:
1 – Taking the lead
2 – Creating energy
3 – Building trust
4 – Being generous
5 – Staying grounded
6 – Remembering the little things
What are we waiting for?

Comment from Origin:
In our Corporate Plan 2021 to 2025 ‘On your side: Working together’, we committed to developing a new environmental strategy in 2023. Like all organisations, particularly those like us with a social purpose, we know we have a responsibility to tackle climate change. We want to make sure that the new plan, whilst ambitious, is also realistic and achievable. This is dependent on improving the information we have on our housing stock – our residents homes – so that is what we have been concentrating on. We have been updating stock condition information and gathering and analysing energy efficiency data. The good news is that we already have a strong foundation. Over 90% of our residents homes are EPC band C or above. All new developments are EPC band A and some of those planned and already completed are Carbon Zero. From next year we will start to develop the plan for existing homes on a ‘fabric-first’ basis, recognising that the biggest contribution we can make and the one that will also benefit residents most, is better insulated and energy efficient homes. Our Environmental  Strategy will also look at our open and green spaces to improve  biodiversity and wellbeing benefits for residents.  In creating the strategy we will work with our involved residents and draw on best practice from the Placeshapers project which has focused on the resident voice in this matter. We will continue to need to balance these investment needs with fire and building safety and maintaining resident’s homes within existing resources (which is largely rental income) but we will look to bring in external funding and grants where available.
Please share your thoughts by emailing Community Development@originhousing.org.uk
using the Subject heading: Climate Action