February 24, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Energy-saving improvements made to more than 600 Cornwall Council homes

Work is nearing completion on making hundreds of Cornwall Council-owned homes more energy-efficient helping to reduce tenants’ energy bills. 

Under the government’s £4m Getting Building Fund programme the council and Cornwall Housing have recently installed solar panels to 600 homes in Cornwall, saving households an average £495 on their energy bills over the last year. 

Solar panels on Cornwall Council homes in Bodmin

Carbon emissions reductions for the homes in Bodmin, Liskeard, Bude, Wadebridge and Saltash are exceeding targets as part of the council’s programme to help Cornwall become carbon neutral. 

The work has been jointly funded by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with council match-funding and additional funds from an Energy Company Obligation scheme. 

A further 49 homes are undergoing a series of whole house retrofits including external wall and loft insulation, solar panels and air source heat pumps under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

Work on these homes in Falmouth and Chacewater is due to finish this autumn and will reduce the buildings’ heat loss as well as cut down on emissions and energy bills. 

The work has been achieved through a partnership with OVO Energy Solutions, part of energy supplier OVO. 

Since 2020 the council has also been part of a Whole House Retrofit Innovation national pilot project funded by BEIS to install energy-saving measures to 83 homes in Cornwall. 

Due to supply chain pressures caused by the pandemic as well as changes in funding requirements and the scale of the project this work will now not go ahead. 

Similar issues have affected 42 homes that were due to undergo whole house retrofitting under the Getting Building Fund and 26 properties under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. 

Councillor Olly Monk, Cornwall’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “We are committed to improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon emissions of our homes and have already installed energy-saving improvements to more than 600 properties in Cornwall.  The first homes in Cornwall to undergo a series of whole house retrofit improvements to make them warmer, greener and cost less to run are also nearing completion. 

“The past two years have been extremely challenging for the building sector and BEIS recognises that all commissioned whole house retrofit pilot projects nationally faced similar challenges. We apologise to our Cornwall Housing tenants who were due to have work completed on their homes under these pilot projects. We have identified their homes as needing energy efficiency improvements and we are now carrying out a detailed review of all our housing so that we can bid for alternative government funding to enable us to improve the energy efficiency of Cornwall Housing homes.” 

Councillor Martyn Alvey, Cornwall’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “Energy use in the home remains a priority in our dialogue with government about the support required for Cornwall to become the first net neutral region of the UK. These pilot programmes are shaping our County Deal ask for long-term retrofit funding and shaping our Shared Prosperity Fund investment programme. 

“In addition to the 649 homes receiving improvements we are also making low carbon, energy-saving upgrades to 400 homes under our Warm Homes Fund; expanding our solar photovoltaic programme for council tenants; and we have recently installed energy saving heating measures to a further 170 homes across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly under the government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Deliver Programme (GHG LAD) and Warm Homes Fund.”  

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the LEP, said: “We’re really pleased that 600 homes now have solar panels through the Getting Building Fund retrofit project. This work is an important element of Cornwall’s ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and with the cost of living crisis lowering tenants’ energy bills will make a significant difference to these communities. 

“The projects funded through the government’s Getting Building Fund were expected to deliver a new and greener economic recovery, and to provide economic security to more of the population while promoting a greener agenda so we’re pleased to see these projects coming to fruition and having a positive impact on the lives of local people and businesses.” 

Mark  Robson, Commercial Development Director of OVO, said: “Now, more than ever, these projects are pivotal to support households during the cost of living crisis while reducing their home’s carbon footprint. OVO Energy Solutions has delivered key retrofit measures – such as insulation, double glazing and new solar installations – to homes across Cornwall. By working with leading local authorities and housing associations, we’ve unlocked a huge opportunity to create greener, more energy-efficient homes for those people who live in draughty homes and will benefit from lower energy bills.” 

Cornwall Housing tenants needing maintenance on their properties are asked to contact Cornwall Housing on 0300 1234 161 or info@cornwallhousing.org.uk.   

If you have any further questions please contact Housingdelivery@cornwall.gov.uk

If you are struggling financially due to rising energy costs you may be eligible for help through the council’s partner Community Energy Plus on freephone 0800 954 1956 or  advice@cep.org.uk. We also work closely with Inclusion Cornwall who can signpost you to a range of resources to help with financial hardship.  

Story posted August 11, 2022