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Affordable homes made more energy efficient

A project to make 129 homes cheaper to run is nearing completion.

Housing Plus Group is nearing completion on a £2.3 million project to make 129 homes warmer, greener and cheaper to run.

We have been working with contractor Broad Oak to upgrade the energy efficiency of our existing housing, particularly older homes that were not built to today’s stringent energy-efficiency standards.

The properties have benefitted from wall and loft insulation, draught proofing and improved heating systems. As well as low carbon technologies including air source heat pumps and Solar where possible – all of which will make homes more energy efficient.

We successfully bid for £1.2 million in funding for the project from the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) with Housing Plus Group investing a further £1.1million in the project.

The fund was set up by the Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to improve the energy efficiency of social housing.

Housing Plus Group worked with Stafford Borough Council, South Staffordshire Council and Shropshire Council to secure funding from the first wave of SHDF last spring.

Representatives from Housing Plus Group, Broad Oak and Stafford Borough Council visited one of the properties that has befitted from the scheme, in Stafford, to see first-hand the work delivered so far under the project.

Dan Timmis, Director of asset management at Housing Plus Group, explained: “At Housing Plus Group we are committed to improving the energy efficiency of our homes across Staffordshire and Shropshire.

“Through this £2.3 million scheme we have made homes warmer and more energy efficient for customers, saving them money on their energy bills and reducing our properties’ carbon footprint.

“Customers tell us the work caused little disruption and they can already feel the benefits in their home.

“At a time when so many people have very real worries about rising energy bills, this work is more important than ever.”

As a result of the retrofit work, carbon emissions have been reduced and some of the properties have been improved from an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating F to an A.

Residents John and Shirley have lived in their Housing Plus Group home for more than 30 years. Their home was one of the first to be upgraded thanks to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the work is now complete.

John said: “Whilst the work was being done the team on site were fantastic, I can’t fault them.

“The work has made the house look a lot more modern and our home feels a lot warmer.

“Our gas bill had doubled due to the increase in energy prices, but thanks to this work our payments have reduced back down to what they were previously.

“The house is less draughty, it saves you money and the overall appearance of our home has been improved.”

The visit showed that the work has not only improved the energy efficiency of these homes, but they also look smarter.

Councillor Jill Hood, Cabinet Member for Community at Stafford Borough Council, said: “I am really pleased that, along with our partners, we have been able to help a number of our residents heat their homes more efficiently. It has been a concern for many in our community who have struggled to pay bills, especially during the colder months, with high energy prices and the cost of living leaving that horrible choice about whether to prioritise heating or eating.

“The measures introduced will have a two-fold benefit – ensuring properties can be kept warmer in the long term without having a detrimental impact on energy bills, and reducing the carbon footprint of the homes themselves.”

In March this year Housing Plus Group was also awarded a share of the Government’s SHDF Wave 2 grant, receiving a further £3.52 million to upgrade a further 400 homes.

Neil Holmes, Operations Manager at Broad Oak, said: “We cannot emphasise enough the significance of the work we undertake on the social housing decarbonisation scheme. Our dedicated efforts in installing insulation & energy efficient heating measures into Housing Plus Group properties have made a profound impact on energy efficiency and sustainability. Over the course of a year, we have successfully transformed in excess of 100 properties, providing residents with a more comfortable and environmentally-friendly living environment.

“Our working partnership with Housing Plus Group has been exceptional, characterised by seamless collaboration and shared commitment to making a positive change. Together, we have achieved remarkable results, reducing carbon emissions and lowering energy consumption for the benefit of both residents and the wider community.

“Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate continuing our collaboration with Housing Plus Group and expanding our efforts in the realm of decarbonisation. By working together, we can further enhance the quality of housing, contribute to a greener future, and make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and the planet.

“At Broad Oak, we firmly believe in the power of collective action and the importance of sustainable solutions. The social housing decarbonisation scheme exemplifies our commitment to creating a more resilient and energy-efficient society, and we are proud to be part of this transformative initiative.”