Press release: Sustainability performance stars at housing awards

December 1, 2023


  • National awards recognise 10 fantastic projects at the forefront of sustainable housing

Over 200 housing and sustainability professionals came together in London on Thursday 30 November to celebrate outstanding achievements in sustainability at the SHIFT Awards 2017, the sustainability awards for the housing sector.

As the only awards celebrating sustainability in housing, the SHIFT Awards (created by sustainability consultants, Baker Homes) are vital in championing a going through hard times by shining a light on those projects at the forefront of environmental sustainability.

The Awards, presented by leading environmental journalist Lucy Siegle and with the support of headline sponsor Soltherm, showcased the very best sustainable housing projects across 10 exciting categories – this year also including one dragons’ den style awards. Categories included “Best small retrofit project”, “Best corporate sustainability project”, and the highly coveted “Sustainable Housing provider of the year”. To celebrate 10 years of the SHIFT Awards, this year’s ceremony also included a special category to recognise the “Most improved ever SHIFT landlord”.

The winners were selected by an expert judging panel consisting of Julie Hirigoyen, UK Green Building Council; Rod Cahill, Catalyst; Clare Hierons, ShareAction; Mark Griffiths, 2 Degrees; Don Barclay, Hastoe Group and Tim Peters, Soltherm.

“I am thrilled to see such a diverse group of organisations coming together to celebrate sustainability in housing. These organisations represent the best of housing and demonstrate that sustainability plays a major role in enhancing people’s lives” said Bevan Jones, Managing Director of Baker Homes.

“Sustainability is the way forward and we must continue to share and replicate best practice and support collaboration and integration across the sector. 2018 will be a challenging year and I can’t wait to see more and better sustainability projects at the SHIFT Awards 2018.”

Hastoe Group Chief Executive Sue Chalkley, who delivered a keynote speech at the Awards, said: “The SHIFT Awards are a testament to the fantastic contribution the housing sector can make to sustainability and wider society.

“The way these Awards have grown in recent years shows how deeply so many in the housing sector care about – and want to celebrate - sustainability, energy efficiency and quality design.

“Congratulations to this year’s winners and to all involved in these important Awards.”

Winners of the SHIFT Awards 2017 included:

Best Climate Resilience Project

Winner: The Behaviouralist

The Plang Green Roof Project Platform is a highly innovative idea that will help city planners and building owners to maximise green roof installations and benefits. The judges thought it was not only ambitious and unique, but also has great potential for replication in other areas of sustainable infrastructure.

Best Corporate Sustainability Project

Winner: The Wellbeing Plan, Flagship Group

Flagship’s Wellbeing Plan has taken an impressively holistic approach. Harnessing the prescient issue of ‘wellbeing’ at work, they have delivered initiatives ranging from free bike services to exercise classes, leading to financial savings up to 30%. The judges particularly noted the ‘wellbeing calendar’ as a fun and effective way of engaging staff and ensuring sustainability buy-in across the organisation.

Best New Build Project

Winner: Heathcott Road, emh group

The judges were very excited by the scale of emh group’s housing development, which is the largest affordable Passivhaus scheme in Europe. The impressive combination of affordability and energy efficiency should have a significant positive impact on the lives of residents: heating bills will be as low as £13/yr! This fantastic project paves the way for similarly high-performing, economically viable schemes in the future.

Highly commended: Naylorsfield Drive, Liverpool Mutual Homes

Best Small Retrofit Project

Winner: Hab-Lab, John Gilbert Architects

John Gilbert Architects’ retrofit measuring tool is highly innovative with regards to technology and research. Their case study example showed that the tool is already having impressive results, and there is great scope for replicability here. The tool can help optimise the retrofitting process for housing associations across the UK, ensuring they hit targets and raise the efficiency of the housing stock.

Joint highly commended: Q-Bot and Shipcote Terrace, Home Group

Best Large Scale Retrofit Project

Winner: Wilmcote House, ECD Architects

The judges saw Wilmcote House as a wonderful example of what ambitious retrofits can achieve. This Passivhaus refurbishment is the largest of its kind in England and has achieved some great results. Residents’ energy bills have been cut by 90%. It was great to see that residents were put at the heart of the project and their aspirations were a key driver of the design.

Highly commended: Smarter Home Visits, Thames Water

Best Resident Engagement on Sustainable Living

Winner: Local Energy Advice Programme (LEAP)

The Local Energy Advice Programme (LEAP) brings together a number of different partners to improve energy efficiency and cut energy bills on a national level. The judges were extremely impressed by the scale of this project, which has already saved £3 million on bills, using just £500,000 of funding. And by investing in frontline worker training, LEAP is doing some great work to ensure that its impact is even greater in future.

Highly commended: Community Energy Wardens Project, North Wales Housing, Grwp Cynefin and Cartrefi Cymmunedol Gwynedd

Sustainability Leader of the Year

Winner: Jeff Laidler, Head of Sustainability , London Borough of Enfield

The judges were deeply impressed by Jeff’s commitment to sustainability in the housing sector and the results that have been achieved through Enfield 2025, the borough’s sustainability strategy. Among other things, Jeff has led the development of energetik, Enfield Council’s own energy company that is developing a series of low carbon community heat networks and will supply over 15,000 homes in the borough. He has also helped improve the energy performance of 1000 council homes. So far Enfield council’s carbon footprint has been cut by 40% since 2009 and the 2025 targets have already been met.

Highly commended Rebecca Hazlewood, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Flagship Group

Best Sustainability Team

Winner: Poplar HARCA

The thing that really stood out about this sustainability team was the way that it enabled coordination and collaboration between different silos across the organisation. This holistic approach has led to a range of exciting projects, from an electric car club (the first in the UK for a Housing Association) to beekeeper training for staff! The team has worked to ensure everyone benefits, from employees to residents.

Highly commended The Energy Service, Bristol City Council

Housing Provider of the Year

Winner: Octavia Housing

Octavia takes a fantastically comprehensive sustainability approach across its entire organisation, from its solar-powered offices to its residential cycle storage and energy efficiency targets for properties. But what’s particularly noteworthy is the organisation’s long-term perspective, which takes into account whole lifecycle costs. This has helped Octavia to work through challenges such as difficult retrofits and maintain an emphasis on sustainability at the core of operations.

Highly commended: Home Group

Most Improved Ever SHIFT Landlord

To celebrate 10 years of SHIFT, there was a unique category for this year: most improved ever SHIFT landlord. This has been objectively calculated from SHIFT scores over time, and shows just how much progress SHIFT landlords have made when it comes to sustainability.

Winner: Hexagon Housing

Hexagon started their journey with SHIFT as bronze landlords back in 2010 and have progressed all the way up to gold. This is a fantastic achievement and they should be deservedly proud of their work.

Joint highly commended: Catalyst and Broadland Housing

Dragon’s Den - Best sustainability project proposal (voted by the audience)

Winner: Switchee


Media contacts:

For more information, interviews and photographs:

Joana Malato, Baker Homes, 020 8973 0405 or

Notes to Editors:

  • The SHIFT Awards are the sustainability awards for the housing sector recognising outstanding sustainability projects and achievements that have made an impact in the sector
  • The SHIFT Awards are open to all organisations in the housing sector, including housing associations, local authorities, private landlords, developers, contractors, suppliers, consultants and others.
  • Baker Homes supports the housing sector through research, accreditation and consultancy. We are a not for profit organisation who influence policy, deliver learning to the sector and provide insight through our events and conferences. Find out more at
Joana Malato

Joana Malato