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Multi Million Pound Transformation for Plymouth BISF homes


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Multi Million Pound Transformation for Plymouth BISF homes

THOUSANDS of Plymouth Community Homes tenants and BISF Homeowners could soon be enjoying lower energy bills thanks to a new scheme to upgrade their homes.

Stunning before and after images shown above illustrates the energy saving benefits of external wall insulation thanks to thermal imaging.

plymouth-community-homes

PCH is joining forces with British Gas to insulate around 10,000 homes – nearly 70 per cent of its stock – over the next eight years.

PCH will insulate the homes with either external or cavity wall insulation.

At the same time, Plymouth City Council has struck a £20m deal with British Gas that will enable private homeowners, landlords and tenants to apply for grants for energy efficiency work, such as external wall insulation, to their homes.

Both projects should see the creation of around 700 jobs in the city’s construction sector.

It is a major coup for PCH as it is one of the first housing associations to carry out this work on such a large scale.

The PCH contract, worth £30m over eight years, will see the work completed in phases.

Around 6,000 homes are due to be completed in the first three phases up to March 2015, with the first phase beginning this month (June).

The works will be carried out on all properties which are of non-traditional construction, such as Cornish Units and BISF (steel-framed) that PCH owns within the city.

British Gas contractors SERS Ltd will fit the insulation while PCH will carry out the additional works such as canopies, gutterings and fascia.

The work has been made possible as part of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) Deal, a government obligation on all energy companies to help residents of low income communities reduce heating bills through reducing carbon emissions.

PCH’s ECO deal builds on other energy efficiency enhancements carried out by the housing association over the last couple of years.

Its new homes in North Prospect are built to the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 – a national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes – and all have solar panels.

In 2011, PCH secured funding to insulate around 250 homes in Efford. The work included rendering, new doors, window sills and canopies and renewed waste pipes and soil vent pipes.

Some homes also received new boilers and heating systems.

Last year, PCH began a trial programme of installing solar panels on a number of homes in the city.

More than 130 properties in Weston Mill and Kings Tamerton were fitted with the panels, or photo-voltaic (PV) cells. A second pilot has taken place in the last few weeks which has seen more than 80 panels installed and PCH is now reviewing whether to fit any more.

Clive Turner, Chief Executive of Plymouth Community Homes, said: “This is a great win for more than 10,000 PCH tenants and their families and a further example of how we are determined to make our homes environmentally sustainable.

“We recognise that many of our tenants are in fuel poverty and this scheme aims to better insulate their homes, which should hopefully lead to lower energy bills.

“There will also be physical improvements to the exterior of people’s homes. PCH is all about communities – and these improvements will enhance neighbourhoods and make them places where people really want to live.

“This scheme has many economic and social benefits for our residents – and beyond. We’re pleased that by signing up to this, we’re helping to create jobs for local people in the building trade which is good news for Plymouth’s economy.”

Claire Williams, Managing Director of British Gas New Energy, added: “This is an extremely significant project and we’re delighted to be working with Plymouth Community Homes to help around 10,000 homes across Plymouth.

“This is a long-term partnership and a great example of the community, a local housing provider and the council working together to make homes more energy efficient, more comfortable to live in and potentially lowering heating bills significantly.”

Sue Ford was one of the PCH Efford tenants who had her home fitted with external cladding, among other improvements. She said: “It’s made such a difference. My home is so much warmer. I’m not putting the heating on as much and when I do it retains the warmth for much longer. There are also less drafts coming through. I also think the neighbourhood looks so much better.”

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “£50m of energy company money to help Plymouth residents is really fantastic news. Not only are these British Gas deals going to help people who are struggling with their energy bills, the projects are also creating hundreds of jobs.”

PCH will try and co-ordinate its work with other projects to reduce the disruption to residents as much as possible.

The external painting programme will be replaced by external cladding as part of the ECO programme. As well as providing thermal cladding, homes will benefit from a render coat that will provide longer lasting protection and colour retention.

ECO funding is currently focused on our non-traditional housing. The number of homes which will be insulated and decorated under the ECO programme is double what we would have done as part of the painting programme.

Details of how to apply for grants, along with a list of eligible measures, will be made available in July.

Householders can register their interest by emailing energy@plymouth.gov.uk or calling 307574.

Pictured: Mike Knowles, Director of Regeneration and Development at PCH, Tim Peters, British Gas and Clive Turner, PCH Chief Executive


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