Green energy boost for council tenants

PUBLISHED: 27 June 2023

More than 100 council homes are set for an energy efficiency upgrade, after Colchester City Council (CCC) was awarded a share of £778m, through Wave 2.1 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).

The SHDF is a government program that provides funding to local authorities and social housing providers to improve the energy efficiency of social homes. The council's successful bid was worth just over £1m and will upgrade the energy efficiency of 105 selected properties. The council has also allocated £1.6m from its own budget to match the SHDF funding, bringing the overall cost of the program to £2.65m.

Colchester Borough Homes’ (CBH) Retrofit Team has already begun engaging with tenants and is currently assessing eligible properties for the retrofitting programme – prioritising those in its housing stock with the lowest energy performance. Of the properties with an Energy Performance Certificate rating below C provisionally identified for the programme, nearly a third are in rural areas. Work is expected to begin in April 2024.

CBH will ensure that the properties are well insulated, providing tenants with a home that can retain heat during the colder months and keep the property cooler during the summer months. Tenants will use less energy and create less CO2 to keep their homes at a suitable temperature, helping them to manage their utility bills and live in a more environmentally friendly way.

Cllr Paul Smith, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of our commitment to delivering decent homes for everyone.

“This is a major programme of works, which aligns with the council's strategic plan in numerous ways. Improving the energy efficiency of homes will help to lower the amount of energy tenants use, particularly at a time of rocketing energy bills, reducing the impact on the environment and helping the council’s efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for its housing stock by 2050. It will also give a significant boost to the local green economy.

“The good news is, that we are helping residents across 16 of our 17 wards in tackling the two biggest priorities for the council – the cost of living crisis and the climate emergency. While the programme will deliver tangible benefits across the whole city, I’m delighted that a significant number of properties have been provisionally identified as major beneficiaries in rural wards.”

Colchester Borough Homes’ Chief Executive, Philip Sullivan, added: "Our team is continuing to work closely with our tenants to identify the properties that will benefit from energy efficiency improvements. This project is a significant part of our ongoing commitment to providing decent, affordable homes, and will improve the comfort, health, and wellbeing of our tenants.”

Two retrofit advisors are set to join the programme in July and will be the main point of contact for residents. So far, 29 retrofit assessments have been completed, of which 22 qualify for the works, with another 15 assessments beginning shortly.

Work on the final selection of 105 properties is expected to be completed by July 2025.

Page last reviewed: 27 June 2023


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