Britain’s homes are among some of the least energy efficient in Europe and by installing energy efficiency products; we can help bring social, economic and environmental benefits to communities across the country. Through partnerships totalling £25m, we are transforming the energy efficiency of thousands of homes in Plymouth by helping make them warmer while enabling saving on energy bills and cutting carbon emissions.
British Gas and Plymouth City Council have entered a £20m partnership with housing provider, Plymouth Community Homes, which will provide energy makeovers for fuel poor tenants in 6,000 social houses over two years. We have also secured a £5m partnership with co-operative, Plymouth Energy Community, to improve the energy efficiency for around 1,000 homeowners, landlords and tenants over two years.
The scheme is part-funded through the Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) which requires energy suppliers to increase the energy efficiency of homes, alongside the Green Deal Communities Fund that subsidises the cost of renewable and energy efficiency products.
Entire neighbourhoods throughout the city are being targeted with improvements that focus primarily on solid wall insulation. This type of insulation reduces the amount of heat escaping through walls, helping homes heat up quicker and stay warmer for longer. So far, nearly 3,900 households have benefitted through the schemes, saving 77,700 tonnes of carbon. And with the average solid wall three-bed house in the area able to receive up to £5,400 off the cost of solid wall insulation, savings of up to £270 a year on energy bills can be made.
The partnership is attractive for many residents - for example, Michael Blakeborough who is 74, has lived in his home since 1978 and decided to have external wall insulation fitted in 2014.
He said: “The back of my house was in need of some work, but the cost was prohibitive and putting me off getting the job done. But I found out about the external wall insulation offer from British Gas and realised that, with the help of the grants on offer, I could have the entire house cladded for a third of the cost I had been quoted for just one wall. As well as the obvious benefit of making the house much more energy efficient, the work has already improved the look of my home dramatically, and is going to add to its value – so it’s been well worth getting the work done.”
Many other residents have also commented that the look and feel of their homes and neighbourhoods have improved as a result of the external solid wall insulation, helping build pride in local communities.
Not only are these ambitious projects helping people who struggle with their energy bills, they are additionally boosting the local economy. We forecast that around 700 new jobs will be created in the construction sector as a result of the partnerships, with the majority of jobs filled locally.
We are proud to be working at the forefront of community regeneration and energy efficiency. Tens of thousands more people can benefit through ECO, so we will press on delivering measures to homes across the country.