Scheme to make homes warmer, greener and cheaper to heat reaches milestone

Nov 18, 2022 | Business

Work to upgrade the energy efficiency of 1,000 County Durham homes has reached a milestone, just in time for the arrival of winter.

North East housing provider believe housing is working with contractor RE:GEN Group to improve customers’ homes in a scheme worth more than £5m.

The work, which is part-funded by the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), will make those homes feel warmer and reduce energy usage and cost.

RE:GEN Group has now installed measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation, improved ventilation, heating controls, sensors and energy efficient lighting in 500 believe housing properties.

To celebrate the milestone, representatives from believe housing and RE:GEN Group presented a bouquet to Rosemary Beer, of Peterlee, whose home was the 500th property completed under the scheme. They also thanked her for allowing the work to go ahead.

Ruth Dent, Director of Assets and Compliance at believe housing, said: “It is amazing to reach the halfway point with this first wave of SHDF part-funded works, which will improve the energy efficiency of 1,000 of our customers’ homes.

“Customers are telling us the work has been straightforward and they’re feeling the benefits already.”

Brian Bedford, Head of Sustainability at RE:GEN Group said: “This has been a fantastic project so far and reaching the 500th home is a real milestone for all of us.

“Working in close collaboration with the team at believe housing, we have spent a lot of time understanding the intricacies and details around each property’s makeup, comparing the current energy efficiency scores of each home against the recommended target to help us identify which properties will benefit most from the efficiency upgrades.

“The beauty of the retrofit work we are delivering is that it’s incredibly light touch. It is not disruptive and it’s over in a really short space of time. In most cases just 48 hours from opening up to handover.

“The results not only provide residents with a warmer, more comfortable home at the perfect time before the winter months really set in, but residents will also benefit from long term enhanced indoor air quality, improving overall health, wellbeing and satisfaction – something you really cannot put a price on.”

As the partners celebrate reaching a milestone in the ongoing retrofit scheme, believe housing is working on a bid for £6m from wave two of the SHDF.

If successful, the housing association will match the funding so it can improve more than 2,000 properties.

Ruth added: “It was a real achievement to secure £3.4m from wave one of the SHDF, as part of a Durham County Council-led consortium. We then invested a further £1.69m in the ongoing scheme.

“With the second bid we’re aiming even higher, looking to double the number of homes we can retrofit.

“This will help our customers feel warm and comfortable at home, bring down their energy bills, and reduce the impact of our housing stock on the environment.

“It will also help us achieve an EPC rating C or better for all our existing housing stock, ahead of the Government’s 2030 target.”

Overall, the government has announced it will allocate £3.8bn to the SHDF over 10 years.