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Keep up to date with the work we're doing here at Optivo to ensure our homes and communities are as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible by reading our news updates.

Jargon buster

We've put together a handy Jargon Buster to help explain some of the confusing acronyms and terminology commonly used when talking about sustainability topics. 

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by electricity and must be plugged in to a charging station or wall outlet to charge. It is unlike conventional vehicles that use a petrol or diesel powered engine. A key advantage of EVs over other vehicles is that they hold the potential to significantly reduce pollution. There are three main types of EVs. Hybrid EVs (HEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid EVs are both powered by petrol and electricity, whilst Battery EVs (BEVs) are fully electric, meaning that the vehicle emits no emissions from the exhaust.


An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) measures the energy efficiency of a property on a scale of A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

Homes in Band A have the lowest fuel bills and the lowest impact on the environment through carbon dioxide emissions. EPCs are a legal requirement for a building to be sold, let or constructed. Once obtained, an EPC is valid for 10 years.


ESG refers to Environmental Social Governance. These are the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business.

Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities.

ESG metrics are not mandatory but companies are increasingly making disclosures in their annual reports. For more information take a look at Optivo’s ESG summary report for investors. 

Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR is a concept which encourages a company to take responsibility for its impact on environmental and social wellbeing. CSR is a broad movement which encompasses a variety of issues such as human rights, corporate governance, responsible sourcing and environmental footprints.

Future Homes Standard

The Future Homes Standard will be introduced in 2025.

It will require all new build homes to be future-proofed with low carbon heating, very high fabric efficiency measures and a ban on all fossil-fuel heating.

Heat Network

Also known as District Heating. A system that distributes heat or hot water from a centralised location to a group of residential or commercial buildings.

Heat networks can be supplied by a diverse range of sources including energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities, combined heat and power (CHP) plants and heat pumps. The advantages include cost savings, higher efficiencies and carbon emission reductions.

Scope Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions are categorised into three groups or 'scopes' by the most widely-used international accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol.

Scope 1 and 2 cover direct emissions sources (e.g., fuel used in company vehicles and purchased electricity). Scope 3 emissions cover all indirect emissions due to the activities of an organization. 


SECR is Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting.

This is a new regulation introduced in April 2019 requiring all large businesses in the UK to publicly disclose their annual energy use, carbon emissions and energy efficiency actions


SHIFT is an independent assessment and accreditation scheme that demonstrates how housing associations are delivering against challenging environmental targets.

Optivo are very proud to have achieved the SHIFT Gold Award.

Net Zero Carbon

Net zero carbon refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

Currently, the UK is targeting an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 against the levels in 1990. Globally, research suggests that we must reach net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest in order to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C.

Sustainable Procurement

An exercise which takes into account environmental, social and ethical factors when selecting suppliers.

Sustainable sourcing requires a higher degree of engagement between all parties in a supply chain. Supply chain sustainability encourages good governance practices throughout the lifecycles of goods and services.


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 global goals and 169 smaller targets introduced by the UN in 2015.

The goals are a response to a call for action urging all countries to work in international partnership to achieve the blueprint for “a better and more sustainable future for all”.  The targets include pledges to protect the world’s oceans, improve water management and the energy system, and take urgent action on climate change. Optivo have made a commitment to address the UNSDGs.

Smart Meter

A digital device which measures the total energy used in the same way as a traditional meter, but can also track when energy is used and how much it costs, highlighting opportunities for savings.

A full national smart meter rollout began in September 2016.