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Creating affordable housing with LPG

The UK seems
to be continually in the midst of an ongoing housing crisis. But there are
positive motions within the housing crisis. More efficient processes, coupled
with initiatives to spur improvements onwards, are leading us towards
affordable housing for Brits.

This
article looks at one such positive helping in the creation of affordable
housing: LPG energy.  

Affordable housing in
the UK

It’s no
secret that the UK’s housing crisis remains a top issue. A government
initiative to build 200,000 discounted homes to first-time buyers had not
produced a single home by the end of 2017, according to a report by the
Independent. Similarly, approximately 12%
of chartered surveyors doubt that the government will be able to achieve
its 300,000-new-homes-a-year target in 2018, with even Parliamentary Affairs
Manager of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Lewis Johnston,
stating that it was “clear more radical action is needed.”

The
issue isn’t just with the number of houses available, but the affordability of
those houses. In a bid to boost availability, the government
has claimed that councils which don’t build enough new homes will lose the
right to determine the location of subsequent new houses. This ruling is part
of a planning policy framework which details regulations regarding the number
of homes that each council must construct — which considers localised aspects
of an area including local house costs and average wages. Essentially, if a
location has a particularly high level of unaffordability, that council will
need to build a greater number of new, affordable homes.

Will
this force councils to build upon rural areas? Perhaps. Former Housing
Secretary and current Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, revealed plans in March to create
several new towns between Oxford and Cambridge. He commented: “Along that corridor, there’s an opportunity to build at
least four or five garden towns and villages with thousands of homes.”

Garden villages are an attractive option. According to the Town
and Country Planning Association (TCPA), garden villages are ideally
constructed away from established settlements and created on a basis of industry
and jobs, with an aim to create diverse, well-designed and affordable
homes.

Although this project is a potential solution to more affordable
housing, the issue of powering and maintaining garden towns and villages in
rural locations is a point that needs consideration.

Affordable housing and
LPG energy

Around four million homes in
the UK are off-grid. According to the Non
Gas Map,
which was created in collaboration with the Department for Business, Energy and
Industrial Strategy; the reliance on the mains grid varies significantly across
the UK. Certain locations — such as northern Scotland and central Wales —
appear to show less dependence on being connected to the main network, while
others, including north-east England and the Home Counties, have a greater
percentage of homes that rely on energy provided by mains gas.

The need to build of rural
areas brings concerns of power during production and for the intended
homeowners. However, the data above shows that there is an opportunity to
construct homes in areas that aren’t connected to the mains network, granted
that an equally efficient alternative is implemented in its place. But how will
this encourage affordable housing growth?

LPG
suppliers
can help with this issue. Currently, a small number of major commercial
developers create the majority of the UK’s housing. By using LPG as an easy
alternative to main network connection, we can widen the number of locations
that a housing project can take place. Consequently, more small- and mid-size
companies should have a greater chance of securing a plot for development in
the sector and we may see a growth in affordable housing as a result.

LPG has so many benefits in
terms of aiding affordable housing development. One of which is the fact that gas
bottles, cylinders and tanks make LPG easy to transport and simple to store
during the construction process. Keeping production costs as low as possible is
essential to all businesses — no firm wants to go over budget. However, the
ease of supplying and stockpiling LPG may help developers keep a track of
energy costs and ensure that mains grid issues, such as power cuts, won’t
affect productivity — another potentially costly side-effect.

Plus, the nation is pushing
towards a greener future. In an industry like construction and housing, it’s
easy to adopt less environmentally friendly products and practices. However,
the demand to bring these down will only grow as the government strives to
achieve its target of lowering carbon emissions by
at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050 — and not doing so may cost companies in the form of taxes
and penalties. Fortunately, LPG is a relatively clean form of energy, releasing
just 81% of the carbon dioxide that oil does and 70% of the carbon dioxide that
coals emits. With tax relief offered to energy-efficient
businesses, it’s helpful to be as eco-friendly as possible. If developers of affordable
housing choose to utilise LPG, this could also work towards greater numbers of
affordable housing projects.   

Affordable housing developers
should certainly consider LPG energy. With demand increasing and only a few
practical initiatives to ease the strain, such as garden villages, it seems as
if they sector needs all the help it can get.

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