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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.