University of Sussex Students Union, Falmer House, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QF



This page contains:

  • General information about the importance of Green housing and our sustainability aims
  • Our retrofitting and energy efficiency plans
  • Sustainable lifestyles and the environment at SEASALT 
  • Information about Green housing campaigns and further links

Climate change, the environment and housing

Climate change, housing and the New Economy

Electricity and heat  accounts for about 56% of the UKs carbon emissions. Our housing stock produces over 58.5 million tonnes of CO2 every year. That’s more than is produced by all of the countries cars! Evidently, housing is a huge contributor to our overall impact on the climate but it is often overlooked in climate change debates and policies. Looking at the figures above, we can see how reducing energy and heat loss from our homes will drastically reduce the amount they need and therefore the amount of CO2 that they produce. In other words, a comprehensive plan to retrofit houses, carry out home improvements and fit other measures like solar PV will help reduce each house’s individual carbon footprint. In fact, retrofitting or green improvements would save UK households an estimated £11.54 billion by 2030 and cut our total CO2 emissions by almost 11%.

We can combine the above with things like local, community owned energy networks, more funding for community led housing and community land trusts to maximise responsible and democratic use of our land. Next, we could add more democracy + economic participation in our local economy through an increase in the number of co-operatives plus an ethical procurement model which would include support for local businesses and democratic organisations. If we do all of this, we will start to get a picture of what some elements of a ‘Green New Deal’ might look like as part of the New/Co-operative Economy.

So far though, the government haven’t really grasped this issue with their failed ‘Green Homes Grant’ and a lack of ambition when it comes to climate change and reimaging our housing. The ideas we have talked about might seem far off from the corporate and landlord dominated housing market that we see today. However, with the right ambition we could make all of this happen. We have good evidence that it works well on small and medium scales, we just need the political will and public education to make it happen and take it mainstream…


The amount of CO2 emissions that come from the UKs electricity and heat

£11.54 billion

Estimated savings for UK households if we carried out a comprehensive retrofitting or green improvements program

58.5 million

Tonnes of CO2 coming from Housing stock annually


Cut on our total CO2 emissions that would come from a national green home improvements program

Our retrofitting and energy efficiency plans

What is retrofitting?

Retrofitting is the is the “addition of new technology or features to older systems”. In this case, it means upgrading the physical elements of our house to reduce energy loss. For example, this could include: better wall and loft insulation, double or triple glazing on windows and doors, adding solar panels (solar PV) to the roof and/or replacing internal elements like radiators and boilers. Every house in England and Wales is given an energy performance certificate which rates the houses energy efficiency and consequently the ‘running cost’ of heating the home. There is also a potential rating which demonstrates an example of the performance a house could reach with reasonable improvements. Houses in the UK average at around amid D rating which as you can see below is far off from the efficient, affordable and realistic goals at the top end of the chart. This is likely caused by numerous factors including ageing hosing stock (at of homes in the UK were built in the 1940s or earlier), poor building standards – at current houses do not have to meet carbon neutral standards or include elements like solar PV – and successive poor governments that have been unwilling to invest in peoples living standards, housing quality and climate mitigation.   

An example enery performance certificate

What will our sustainability improvements look like?

At SEASALT we are fully committed to our sustainability objectives and climate justice. We want to reduce our energy loss as far as possible and provide our tenants with a comfortable and affordable place to call home. We have worked with Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCO) to get a comprehensive audit of potential energy saving measures for our house. 

A 4 stage plan

We have a 4 stage plan for our sustainability and accessibility which we are working on in 2021/2022

Insulation and windows

The no.1 improvements we will make include loft/cavity insulation and triple glazing on all of our windows

Working with BHESCO

We have worked with BHESCO to get a comprehensive audit of the energy efficiency improvements we can make and our now implementing them

Solar PV

We are considering Solar PV but the direction and size of our roof means that this will likely come as a future project