Local authorities and housing associations across England are being invited to bid for a share of £160m to boost the energy efficiency of their stock.
Up to 38,000 of the UK’s worst energy-performing social housing properties – with energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings of D or below – will have the chance to receive vital energy efficiency upgrades, including installation of insulation and more energy efficient doors, windows and heating systems.
The investment will help tenants save around £170 a year on energy bills, while making their homes warmer and reducing carbon emissions.
The £160m announced today is the first wave of funding from the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund out of a total £3.8 billion to be spent over a 10-year period. With homes accounting for 15% of the UK’s carbon emissions, the investment will also help towards eliminating the country’s contribution to climate change by 2050.
Minister for business, energy and corporate responsibility, Lord Callanan, said: “Today’s announcement is a vital step forward in eradicating UK fuel poverty and improving the lives and homes of low-income households, all while creating new work for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople who will be building homes fit for our greener future.
“With a real appetite among councils and housing associations to make their homes cheaper to heat and warmer to live in, this investment is putting the power in the hands of the people who know their communities best, allowing the right decisions to be made for each home they manage while ensuring the very best for their tenants and the environment.”
Taken together the funding will ensure that the government is achieving its aspiration to ensure as many homes as possible reach EPC Band C or above by 2035 in a way that is practical, cost effective, and affordable, Lord Callanan added.
Local councils benefit from fund demonstrator cash
Wave 1 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) follows an earlier demonstrator phase launched in March 2021, which awarded £62m to projects across England and Scotland which will look to upgrade approximately 2,300 socially rented homes to demonstrate innovative approaches to retrofitting social housing at scale, using a whole house approach.
An example of success out of the demonstrator phase includes Fenland District Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, which secured £4.5m from the SHDF Demonstrator, run by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, to improve the energy efficiency of social housing. The grant was match funded with a further £4.5m from Clarion Housing Group, the largest social landlord in the country that owns and manages thousands of homes across the two local authorities.
The funds are being used to significantly upgrade 115 of the most energy inefficient Clarion homes in Fenland and Tonbridge and Malling, which currently have an EPC rating of D or below. As a result, carbon emissions will be reduced, and it is expected that those living in upgraded properties will save between £300 and £500 on their energy bills each year.
Clarion estimates that the project will also generate 68 jobs and apprenticeships in the green energy sector by employing local sub-contractors and installers.