Council homes warmer this winter thanks to retrofitting

Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright with housing team and Equans representative standing with residents by a newly installed air source heat pump at a council property at Swinderby
Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright with housing team and Equans representative meeting residents at Swinderby

North Kesteven District Council is delivering eco-friendly and energy-saving improvements to the first 200 Council homes in its plan to upgrade at least 600 such properties by 2030.

The £6million programme will see green measures such as solar panels, heat pumps and boosted insulation installed in the Council properties with the lowest EPC ratings in partnership with energy and regeneration expert Equans.

A Swinderby bungalow is among the latest to have new state-of-the-art, carbon saving technology installed making it one of the first to receive energy efficiency updates under the priority project.

Householders John and Kathy Nicholls are feeling the benefits of having solar panels with battery storage, air source heat pumps and new loft insulation installed to their 1972 home where they have lived for the past 18 years.

Mrs Nicholls said: “We had storage heaters and an immersion water heater previously; they weren’t the easiest and it cost a lot. This system is quicker and more convenient, as well as being cleaner.  We’re getting to use free electricity from the solar panels, so we know we’re saving a lot of money and it’s really satisfying.

“We were a bit worried at first because we didn’t know what to expect, but the workmen came and explained what they were going to do every day and they were fantastic, they’d just get on with the job and everything went perfectly.”

When asked what they’d say to anyone who was in line for the work Mr Nicholls said: “Do it. Definitely have it done. You’re doing yourself a favour. We know people who’ve turned down the work in the past, but now they’ve had it done they’re really happy with it.”

The project will see 200 council-owned bungalows in almost 40 North Kesteven villages become warmer and more energy efficient - significantly reducing residents’ energy bills each year and increasing Energy Performance Certificate ratings to at least C.

Councillor Richard Wright, Leader of North Kesteven District Council, said: “This work brings together two of our priorities, addressing as it does our ambitions for both Our Environment and Our Homes. Our council properties are real homes and we’re working to make them warmer, more secure and more sustainable.

“The retrofit project is all about continuing to keep our homes up to date and up to standard, making them more energy efficient, cheaper to run and fit for the future. We want our tenants to carry on living in homes they can be proud of.

“This work makes a big impact on people, transforming the energy efficiency of these homes, and a big impact on the environment, reducing the amount of gas and electricity needed to keep our residents cosy.”

Martin Ardron, Operations Director at Equans, said: “We’re pleased that residents are already feeling the benefits of this important project which I’m sure will make a huge difference – especially now that the colder months are here.

“The combination of solar panels, heating and new insulation should make energy bills significantly lower, whilst also creating a much warmer, more comfortable living environment.”

The scheme has been made possible due to £2.8million of funding from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, which is managed by the Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and aims to improve the energy performance of the country’s most inefficient socially rented homes. The remaining £3.2million is funded from the Council’s Housing budget.

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