Millions invested to green Cumbrian homes

Posted on 31/01/2023

Work has started to transform 90 homes in Cumbria 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 Wave 1 of the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).

Home Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations with 55,000 homes in the UK with 10,000 homes 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 are receiving 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, 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 are expected in the coming weeks, with around £800m being available. The GFP has submitted a bid to retrofit 5,600 homes.

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