An innovative project, which is set to install low carbon measures in houses in some of the most deprived areas in Yorkshire and Humber, was launched today by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne.
The launch event of The BIG Energy Upgrade, which takes a ‘whole house’ approach to energy conservation was held at the University of Sheffield and featured a key note address by cabinet minister Huhne who explained the importance of tackling energy efficiency.
“Energy efficiency is a no brainer because it makes homes warmer and cheaper to run,” he said. “The Big Energy Upgrade is a great example of different organisations working together to help the most disadvantaged communities in Yorkshire.
“We want to see more of this collaborative working to help the effectiveness of the Green Deal when it's launched next year. The new Green Deal will be the biggest home improvement plan since the second world war, helping to insulate people against rising energy prices at no upfront cost.”
The BIG Energy Upgrade partnership, led by Kirklees Council, includes six local authorities, four Arms Length Management Housing Organisations, two Registered Social Landlords across Yorkshire and the Humber, Yorkshire Energy Services and the University of Sheffield, who will monitor the performance of the installed measures; look at behavioural issues linked with energy consumption; support the supply chain associated with the programme and monitor energy consumption in some of the households.
The University of Sheffield’s Vice Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett, said: “We’re delighted to be working in Partnership with regional Local Authorities on this flagship project which we’re supporting through a multi-disciplinary team including architecture, supply-chain, digital technology, civil engineers and psychology.
This allows understanding of the problem as a whole: the building, the new energy technologies, and importantly the human behaviour. The University’s strength of partnership with our region is rarely more important than in a project of this nature that is piloting solutions to the integrated challenges of carbon emissions, economic growth, and fuel-poverty.”
The programme has attracted £14.9m investment of which £7m is investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber 2007-2013 ERDF Programme.
Kirklees Council act as the Lead Accountable Body for the scheme, Cllr Peter McBride, the lead cabinet member for investment and housing said: “I’m delighted that people in our region will be the first in the country to benefit from a scheme like this. We are looking forward to working with other local authorities and partners to make a real difference to people’s lives and reduce the impact we‘re having on the environment.”
The project will create 114 new jobs and help safeguard many more jobs within related sectors, as well as achieve a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions of in excess of 200,000 lifetime tonnes of carbon, saving over 7,000 householders money on their energy bills and alleviating fuel poverty across the region’s most deprived communities. Energy saving measures to be offered under the programme include innovative combinations of solid wall insulation, solar thermal panels, boiler upgrades to efficient condensing boilers, fuel switching to gas and loft insulation.
The Big Energy Upgrade means that for the first time ever in the UK people will benefit from a `whole house´ approach which will see a package of measures highly individual for each of the households and will ensure householders achieve the best energy efficiency performance through the measures.
The initiative represents a big step forward in the way insulation and microgeneration are integrated and will make a huge difference to deprived communities.
The project will run until March 2014 and will act as a catalyst in attracting further funding towards energy efficiency projects, which in turn will create more demand for materials and skills in the area of retrofitting and micro generation. It will also help to prepare the region, in terms of knowledge and experience, for the delivery of a new area-based whole house approach to be delivered as part of the Government´s Green Deal post 2012.