Meet research recommendations

Heartwarming Homes builds on two pieces of research: the Northern Housing Consortium’s Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury and Placeshapers and Tpas research, Residents’ Voices in the Net Zero journey.

The tables below highlight recommendations relating to communication and engagement, and how they can be made a reality.

Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury

Recommendation How to put this into practice
Good communication is essential throughout the retrofit and must cover positive and negative aspects. The step-by-step communication guide will help you plan communication throughout the retrofit. It’s important to be transparent and to work with residents to overcome any barriers.
Communication needs to be tailored to the needs of different groups. Communication about retrofit cannot be a ‘one size fits’ all. Demographic data about customers can help you plan tailored communications which meet the needs of different groups.  Customer Liaison Officers also have a big part to play as they build relationships and develop an understanding of residents’ individual needs.

The ‘Communicating with different groups –

diversity’ section, which was developed in partnership with the Housing Diversity Network, gives further information about inclusive communication.

Tenants must understand financial implications, including any entitlement to compensation. Making residents aware of compensation available for any damage to their home or possessions can offer reassurance. We found that offering to cover the cost of redecorating or replacing floor coverings is likely to make residents feel more positive about having work done.

Residents will want to know how their energy bills will be affected. It’s important to make sure the information you give is accurate. It can be helpful to arrange an appointment with an energy advisor to make sure the resident is on the best value energy tariff.

The Heartwarming Homes tenant advisory group said there was a common misconception that having energy efficiency work done on your home could lead to higher rent or service charges. Rumours like this can be addressed through direct conversations with residents and through FAQs. The Heartwarming Homes toolkit includes some suggested FAQs.

Demonstrations, via video or in person, will help increase understanding. Demo homes are a great way to increase understanding about green homes. They showcase the benefits and can be used to explain what to expect when energy efficiency work is done in the home.

Heartwarming Homes includes a section on demo homes with a case study from MSV. We’ve also created a Matterport tour of a retrofitted home which you can share with residents when it’s not practical to open a demo home.


Residents’ Voices in the Net Zero journey


Recommendation How to put this into practice
Develop messaging in partnership with residents – warmer, healthier homes, not fuel poverty.


This recommendation came before the cost-of-living crisis, but the recommendation about working in partnership with residents remains strong.  Heartwarming Homes worked with a tenant advisory group to create key messages about energy efficiency upgrades.  These are a good starting point, but you may wish to further develop them by working with residents.
Use case studies and resident ambassadors. Recruiting resident ambassadors is a good way to get messages out to, and feedback from, residents who feel uncomfortable or reluctant to engage with their landlord directly. The resident ambassador section includes a case study from Onward about their neighbourhood champion programme when they refurbished and retrofitted 130 one bedroom bungalows.

Case studies that share real life experiences are a powerful way of explaining the benefits of having work done and helping people know what to expect. The video section includes videos you can share with residents and some top tips for making your own case study videos.

Dedicated customer engagement officers make a difference. The tenant group said all residents should be offered a single point of contact and the opportunity to see them face-to-face when they need to. Feedback from housing organisations suggests face-to-face engagement is the best way to build trust, increase resident satisfaction and help projects run smoothly. It’s an additional investment – but it’s worth it. You can find out more in the channels and resources section and in the step-by-step communication guide.
Educate colleagues about net zero and retrofit too – all colleagues are ambassadors.


Receiving mixed messages from the landlord will undermine resident trust. It’s important that all customer facing colleagues have a consistent understanding of your retrofit programme and sustainability work. Find out more about educating colleagues in the channels and resources section.


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