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£14.9m energy efficiency funding

Some £14.9m in Government funding has been awarded to a consortium bid coordinated by the Midlands Energy Hub, which will see energy efficiency improvements to 1,570 social houses in the Midlands.

Working in partnership with six social housing providers and three local authorities, the Midlands Energy Hub – which is governed by Nottingham City Council – used the combined experience of the partners to create a strong case for securing the funding.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) is administered by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the country’s net zero agenda.

The SHDF grants will be used to improve energy efficiency ratings of social rented homes across the region that have a low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which means they are cold and difficult to keep warm. While the funding can be used for a range of retrofit measures, the consortium members are taking a ‘fabric first’ approach that will see the houses upgraded with insulation and double glazing in the first instance.

This approach ensures that subsequent measures, such as solar panels and heat pumps, are more effective. Upgrades like these are estimated to save tenants up to £240 per year on their energy bills, which is crucial with the impending Ofgem price cap increase in April.

Retrofitting properties

As part of the consortium bid, Nottingham City Council has secured over £2.8m to retrofit 298 social homes in the city. These houses will have solid wall insulation measures installed, with loft insulation also being added to homes that need it. The SHDF funding builds on previous success that the city has had improving the energy efficiency of council homes, which result in lower bills for Nottingham City Homes tenants and contributes towards the city’s target to reach carbon neutrality by 2028.

Nottingham City Homes has a strong track record in delivering energy efficient social housing with its award-winning Energiesprong housing project showcased internationally as one of just 17 global projects at the COP26 climate change conference 2021. Other BEIS-funded retrofit projects are currently underway in Sneinton, Bakersfield, Mapperley and Clifton.

Energy crisis

Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Waste, said: “I’m delighted that our Midlands Energy Hub has secured significant funding from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to improve the energy efficiency of houses across the region. Homes that are cold and hard to keep warm can receive funding from schemes like this one, and this is important to deliver on our fuel poverty reduction targets.

“Due to the energy crisis, many residents in the region will be struggling to pay their bills, so it’s really important to act now. Not only will installing measures like external wall insulation save tenants money, but it will also improve health and wellbeing and lower their carbon footprints at the same time.”

Michael Gallagher, Head of the Midlands Energy Hub, said: “Securing more funding off the back of our successful £82m bid for the Sustainable Warmth Competition demonstrates the Midlands Energy Hub’s commitment to reducing fuel poverty in both private and social housing. Our work on the Local Authority Delivery Scheme – which targets privately owned homes – has allowed us to identify ways that we can assist local authorities in the Midlands to roll these schemes out at scale.

“Through the work the Midlands Energy Hub has completed nationally, for example working with training providers to upskill the workforce, we are working to create green jobs and improve the supply chain for these vital schemes. We are hopeful that this will build capacity to rapidly deliver retrofit projects, while also driving down costs to make them accessible to all.”

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