Tens of thousands of social housing tenants across England will have their energy bills cut and homes made warmer as the government makes £179m available to improve energy efficiency.
The funding announced today will see 20,000 social housing properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or lower receive upgrades to improve their energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
This includes fitting external wall and roof insulation, energy efficient doors and windows, heat pumps and solar panels.
Upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of March 2023, supporting thousands of lower income and more vulnerable households.
The funding forms part of the government’s £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) which will bring a significant amount of the social housing stock currently below EPC C up to a higher standard.
It has already supported 2,100 households through a demonstrator scheme, delivering warmer homes, reducing fuel bills, tackling fuel poverty and supporting green jobs.
Commenting, Minister for Business and Energy, Lord Callanan said:
“The UK has a strong track record in improving the energy performance of its homes and this funding will continue that as we deliver huge benefits for social housing residents, ensuring they keep more of their cash.
"The £3.8bn we’re investing through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is helping drive down energy bills for thousands, targeting help to those who need it most by making their homes warmer, more comfortable and greener.”
Today’s announcement sets out the 69 projects that have been allocated the financial support in the first wave, with funding allocated to local authorities who, together with social housing providers, will deliver them.
Around 9,000 jobs in the green energy sector will be generated as a result, with the funding expected to deliver carbon emissions savings equivalent to taking up to 6,000 cars off the road in any given year.
The government said that huge progress is already being made to increase the energy efficiency of UK homes.
In 2008, just 9% had an EPC of C or above, however, it is now at 46% and rising, with the social housing sector up from 18% in 2008 to around 66% now.
It is widely acknowledged that energy efficiency improvements are one of the most effective ways to save money on energy bills at a time of rising global gas prices.
The SHDF Wave 1 funding builds on the success of a £61m demonstrator project launched in October 2020, which improved the energy efficiency of thousands of social homes, cutting bills for tenants and supporting around 1,200 jobs.
Delivery of Wave 1 funding is designed to encourage social housing providers to improve the least energy efficient homes first and ensure that heat loss prevention measures, such as insulation, are installed effectively and to a rigorous performance standard.
It will also ensure energy efficiency measures installed are chosen in a way that minimises the potential for them having to be replaced in the future.
Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, Kate Henderson added:
“We warmly welcome the announcement of the first Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund recipients.
“Alongside helping us to achieve our crucial net zero target, this will mean warmer, more comfortable homes for social housing residents, and importantly help to protect them from rising energy bills.
“Housing associations are committed to working with government to upgrade the nation’s social housing stock and this fund will play a vital role in this.”
The SHDF Wave 2 competition will launch in the next financial year, with more details on the scheme being made available over the coming months.
The government are encouraging those that are considering applying to begin preparing now.
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