Lowering the carbon footprint of social housing through energy efficiency
  • December 16, 2019

Lowering the carbon footprint of social housing through energy efficiency

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With the Government setting ambitious targets to lower the UK’s carbon footprint, social housing providers are redoubling their efforts to raise the energy efficiency standards of their properties.

As well as reducing the carbon footprint of their housing stock, the drive to raise energy efficiency should also mean lower energy bills for tenants, many of whom are vulnerable members of society living in fuel poverty.

One of the most recent major announcements came from the Scottish Government which unveiled the second round of its Decarbonisation Fund, worth £3 million, to support the installation of technologies like insulation, ground-source heat pumps, solar panels and underfloor heating.

The funds will go to 11 social housing landlords to implement measures which are expected to make it cheaper to heat homes and help reduce the carbon footprint of almost 900 social rented properties north of the border.

The new standard aims to maximise the number of homes in the social rented sector attaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating B by 2032.

According to Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, in 2018 15,000 Scottish households saved more than £4.6 million on fuel bills as a result of energy efficiency measures installed through Scottish Government schemes, such as insulation, double glazing and heating controls.

Physical measures are just one half of the story, as the latest technology can help to lower a home’s carbon footprint while generating energy savings.


When several social housing units are sharing the same heating supply, such as apartment blocks, submetering can help by providing a way to collect live data, enabling the landlord to send tenants regular and accurate bills. This information can then be used to understand why and where energy performance is poor, leading to informed decisions on how to improve performance.

Below are two common methods of sub-metering…

Heat energy meter:

This is a device which consists of a flow meter of heating fluid, two temperature sensors and a calculator which converts the consumption into kilowatt-hours (kWh). Meters need to be installed into every apartment, while the individual heating costs are calculated by combining the cost of heating the apartment and the communal areas.

The benefits of this system include measuring consumption in kWh units and splitting costs for each apartment is straightforward. However, this system requires two-pipe heating systems and only measures the overall heat consumption of a flat, not single rooms. Installation of this system is also expensive.

Heat cost allocator:


Heat cost allocator

These electronic devices are installed directly onto radiators and detect the heat output of each radiator in the apartments. They can be used on all types of radiators, but not underfloor heating. Bills are calculated by dividing the total cost for heating of the building proportionally to the measurements of the allocators. Another benefit is that data collection can be done remotely, without the need to visit each apartment.


Benefits of submetering

Both these types of sub-metering are good options for primary metering where it is not possible to interfere with existing meters. It can also help with producing accurate Display Energy Certificates, an annual requirement for public sector buildings of more than 1,000 square metres, and for the annual CRC energy efficiency reporting.

Here at ista, we’re experts in ensuring heating costs are distributed fairly with everyone only paying for what they consume. Whether it is at the apartment heat meter or our innovative heat cost allocator (radiator) meter, we calculate each tenant’s bills and ensure regulatory compliance.

Our systems deliver a flexibility to match your organisation and allow your tenants to receive their bills in a number of convenient forms. We give you confidence and transparency in the full settlement of your community or district heating across your buildings and whole estate.

If you need assistance in meeting your energy commitment requirements or require more information on our smart metering solutions please contact one of our team by emailing info@ista-uk.com or contacting us here.



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ista is one of the world leaders in the sector of individual measurement and billing of heating, water and other energy consumptions, serving a total of 12 million homes in a total of 24 countries.

The Company

ista is the world leader in the sector of individual measurement and billing of heating , water and other energy consumptions , mainly in the residential sector, to obtain savings in energy consumption.

Our Solutions

Our cost distributors help our customers make sustainable energy consumption . We make the consumption of individual energy and water in buildings in a transparent, understandable and controllable manner.