New funding accelerates plan to make Cumbrian homes more energy efficient

Posted on 17/02/2022

More than 90 homes in Oughterside and Abbeytown are to benefit from what is called fabric first retrofits, as part of government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).   

Housing association Home Group has been successful in its bid to SHDF to upgrade the fabric of the homes in the two villages.

Families in the homes will benefit from a range of enhancements which will make them much more energy efficient and bring significant cost savings. 

Home Group will receive £1.2m from the fund, and will itself invest a further £3.3m as part of its five-year retrofit delivery plan.

It’s a plan being piloted in Cumbria, and is already underway in the county, with the complete retrofit of 25 homes in Summer Hill, Bootle.

The plan is to pilot whole house retrofit solutions on estates which are predominantly without gas, and will see the installation of new roofs, heat pumps, solar panels, battery storage and external wall insulation, as well as upgraded windows and doors.

After Summer Hill, the project will move onto the 90 homes in Oughterside and Abbeytown. Work will then expand across homes in Cumbria over the coming years.

The pilot is 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 of Business Development at Home Group, who leads its net zero strategy, said: “We’re delighted to have received government funding as it allows us to accelerate our plans to make our homes in Cumbria the most energy efficient they can be, and in turn allow for significant savings for our customers. 

“We have developed our thinking around customer experience before, during and after retrofit as well as understanding 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 estimates this investment will help tenants save around £170 per year on energy bills, while making homes warmer and reducing carbon emissions.

This is the first wave of funding out of a total £3.8bn that government has promised will be spent over a 10-year period. The aim is to improve homes across the country so that they are cheaper to run, more energy efficient and future proofed.

With figures suggesting homes account for 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions, government expects that the investment will also help towards its plan to reach net zero by 2050.