Energy saving measures have now been successfully installed on more than 60 properties on one street in Solihull as part of a West Midlands-wide plan to help local people cut their energy bills and carbon emissions.
Privately owned homes and those managed by Solihull Community Housing on Alston Road have benefited from various upgrades, including external wall insulation (EWI) and loft insulation. The transformation has been achieved thanks to Government funding secured by Solihull Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and Solihull Community Housing, and is being delivered by Sustainable Building Solutions.
The work has been targeted at homes with an energy performance rating of D or below, supporting residents with the cost-of-living pressures and to help tackle the climate emergency.
A typical home loses approximately 35% of heating through their walls so installing external wall insulation is one of the most effective ways of reducing this and making them more energy efficient in the winter and cooler in the summer.
The measures will also improve ventilation, helping to reduce the likelihood of damp and mould, leading to better health outcomes. The improvement works have been funded by a combination of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Sustainable Warmth Competition.
Catherine, a homeowner on Alston Road shared her thoughts about the initiative: “We were delighted to receive funding to improve the insulation in our home. Like everyone, our energy bills have shot up in recent years and these improvements should really help retain heat and warmth. The external wall insulation looks great visually and it’s nice to know the positive impact it will have on the environment.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said:
“Getting the opportunity to visit homeowners and tenants on Alston Road has really brought home the benefits of making our homes more energy efficient. Speaking to the residents, their satisfaction with the scheme shone through as well as their anticipation of future savings on energy bills.
“What stands out about this scheme is the upgrades have been completed on both privately owned and socially rented homes, helping to make it a more inclusive, place based retrofit project. However, we know time is of the essence and we’ll continue to work closely with the WMCA to secure additional funding for schemes like this that make such a difference to the local community.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said:
“Retrofit presents a huge opportunity for our region - cutting energy bills for local people, boosting skills & job prospects, and tackling the climate emergency.
“In Solihull, over half of households on Alston Road are set to benefit from homes that are both warmer and cheaper to heat. This is proof of the power of taking a place-based approach to retrofit - hence the importance of our Net Zero Neighbourhoods initiative and why we will continue to press ahead with retrofit.
“The WMCA has already secured £70 million of Government funding and match funding from housing providers. This cash injection is helping to get homes retrofitted as well as building up a retrofit workforce. The Deeper Devolution Deal we agreed with Government back in March opened up a more sustainable flow of retrofit funding to help us scale up our work on the ground. Together, we can replicate success stories like Alston Road right across our region - supporting our #WM2041 net zero commitment in the months and years ahead.”
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Planning, added:
“Only 32% of domestic buildings in Solihull have a registered EPC rating of C or above. Although slightly higher than the regional average, it still highlights the pressing need to retrofit our homes and improve energy efficiency. We know that domestic buildings produce a significant proportion of the borough’s total CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions. With that in mind, success stories like Alston Road are so important if we are to reach net zero emissions in Solihull and the West Midlands by 2041.”
If you are interested in learning more about retrofit and its benefits you can find out more on the Your Future Solihull website. Certain residents may also be eligible for the Home Upgrade Grant, which targets homes that are off the gas grid. Find out how to apply and if you might be eligible here.
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