Energy efficient retrofit works to improve homes and reduce carbon emissions

A strategic and comprehensive plan to improve the energy efficiency of council homes in York is being proposed. These proposals will improve the quality of residents’ lives, tackle fuel poverty and contribute to the city achieving carbon neutral status by 2030.

Ongoing works to install insulation and fuel efficiency works in York’s 7,500 council homes has meant two thirds of them have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above – recognised by the Government as the minimum standard which all homes should aim to achieve in the future. The remaining homes require more complex works due to their non-standard construction in order to bring them up to EPC C levels. Retrofit improvements such as fitting internal or external insulation and ground source heat pumps will ensure the homes are warmer and more affordable to heat.

The report recommends that an approved budget of £1m is allocated to retrofitting the first phase of homes, with works starting in summer 2021. These works will bring around 60 poorer-performing homes up to an EPC C rating. Alongside this initial programme of works, a longer term approach to retrofit more homes over the medium and longer term will be developed. One third of all the city’s carbon emissions come from domestic buildings, therefore it is important that a strategy is developed to ensure retrofit works are delivered across the city.

To help deliver these energy saving and carbon reduction measures, the council will develop a strategy for upskilling local tradespeople to undertake retrofit works to meet the growing demand. Building up a supply chain of retrofit contractors would dovetail with the council’s Economic Strategy and support new jobs.

Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “This decision is about how we can best make use of the £2m of capital investment allocated to energy efficiency works in our Housing Revenue Account, in addition to our usual annual spend on major repairs and refurbishment. I am pleased to see officers are recommending that we use this funding as strategically as possible.

“Getting a ‘fabric first’ retrofit programme underway to bring some of our worst performing homes up to EPC C will help around 60 of our tenant households to benefit from lower energy bills and warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes. It will also mean that we can develop local skills training and approaches to retrofit, providing a pipeline of work for local contractors and creating local green jobs. It will give us a track record that will best position us to access external funding which is now starting to become available, particularly for those councils who are taking a lead. Keeping some further funding back at this point to use for match funding and to help us develop our strategy will also enable us to go on and improve the energy efficiency of many more council homes in the future.”

This report will go to the Executive meeting on Tuesday 15 December 2020 at 10am. For more detail visit: https://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=12428 and the meeting can be viewed at https://www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

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