Solar PV is the most popular green energy choice among housing associations, according to a new report by the National House-Building Council (NHBC) Foundation.

The report found that nearly two thirds of housing associations surveyed had dealt with at least one type of sustainable technology. The NHBC Foundation claims that housing associations have been at the vanguard of sustainable home building because they have been building new homes to higher levels of the Code for Sustainable homes.

Importantly, 75% of those surveyed said they would install solar PV again, based on their experience with the technology. The second most popular technology among housing associations was solar thermal, with 60% saying they would install the technology again.

The study found that two-thirds of housing associations view the up-front cost of an installation as the most important factor when deciding on which technology to use. Falling just behind the up-front costs in deciding factors were maintenance costs. Interestingly, only 19% of housing associations indicated that the technology’s payback term was an important factor.

In terms of issues faced by housing associations as a result of installing sustainable technologies, a perceived lack of skilled or experienced tradesmen was the biggest concern with two thirds of associations stating that they experienced problems with their install partner.

Ultimately 81% of associations said that residents had benefitted from reduced energy bills as a result of installing sustainable technologies.

Commenting on the results of the report, Neil Smith, head of research and innovation at NHBC, said: “Much progress has been made by the house-building industry to address environmental issues, particularly in relation to improving energy and water efficiency.

“The social housing sector has led the way in the use of sustainable technologies. Because of their ownership and management of significant portfolios of high-Code-level sustainable homes, housing associations have been in a position to gain experience of the installation, performance and resident satisfaction with the various technologies.

The NHBC Foundation hopes that the new report will help convince the wider house-building community to adopt sustainable technologies ahead of the government’s 2016 zero carbon home target. Smith added: “This research is aimed at helping the wider house-building industry and others to make better-informed choices. This report identifies technologies that have worked well, those that have given rise to concerns and the nature of those concerns.”