Millions invested to green Cumbrian homes
Work has started to transform 90 homes in Allerdale into some of the most environmentally friendly and efficient homes in the UK.
The homes in Oughterside and Abbeytown will receive what’s termed ‘whole-house’ retrofit works to achieve ‘net-zero carbon’ via a ‘fabric-first’ approach, which will improve thermal comfort, indoor air quality and minimise space heating demand in-order-to reduce customers’ energy bills.
The work on the 90 homes, owned by Home Group, is partly funded through the Government’s Social Hosing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).
Home Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations with 55,000 homes in the UK - 10,000 of which are in Cumbria, received £1.2m from the fund and has added a further £3.3m of their own investment.
The scope of works to the homes will include installing external wall insulation, cavity wall and loft insulation top-up’s, new energy efficient double-glazing, front and rear door replacements. In addition, existing heating and hot water systems will be replaced with air source heat pumps, and solar PV with battery storage will also be installed.
Customers will receive bespoke in-home energy advice, as well as full training on how to use the heat pumps effectively. Monitoring equipment will also be installed to a number of different property types which will measure internal temperatures, relative humidity, carbon dioxide levels and help measure how successful the retrofit works have been in terms of reducing carbon and increasing thermal performance.
The retrofits are part of a long-term sustainability strategy to ensure Home Group meets its net zero targets, as well as those of Government.
Nusheen Hussain, Executive Director Customers and Communities at Home Group, and who leads its net zero strategy, said: “The Government’s funding programme is very much appreciated as it helps us to significantly speed up the greening of our homes, making them environmentally friendly, while being much more efficient for our customers, which means bottom line savings for them.
“We have developed our thinking around customer experience before, during and after retrofit and have a clear customer engagement plan to ensure we meet their needs and support them through this significant but beneficial change.
“These works also help us understand what is needed commercially and operationally to scale up to achieve our long-term net zero targets.
“A key part of the retrofit plan is to engage with local authorities and colleges to develop the skills and infrastructure required at the earliest possible point to ensure we can deliver for our customers whilst having positive impact on local communities.”
Close to £160m has been made available to local authorities and housing associations across England through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, in-order-to enhance the country’s energy efficiency of socially rented homes.
Government estimate this investment will help tenants save around £170 per year on energy bills, while making homes warmer and reducing carbon emissions.
Submissions for wave 2 of the fund ends this month, with around £800m being available.
These two waves of funding are the first trench from a total £3.8bn Government has promised will be spent over a 10-year period – with the aim of improving homes across the country to be cheaper to run, more energy efficient and future proofed.
Home Group is applying for funding to retrofit a further 1,000 homes over the next two years across the UK. It is also part of the Greener Futures Partnership – a group of like-minded housing associations working together to better green their homes and tackle fuel poverty.
The partnership is applying for funds to collectively retrofit 5,000 homes.
With figures suggesting homes account for 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions, Government expect the investment will also help towards its plan to reach net zero by 2050.
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