How we are helping residents so they can stay warm while using less heating this winter
06 Sep 2022
For Chris and Ann Britton, despite rising energy costs, keeping their home warm this winter is less of a worry than it might have been, thanks to West Suffolk Council.
They are among the West Suffolk households who have benefitted from free energy efficiency work, designed to keep homes warm in winter and energy bills as low as they can be. And with improved heat retention meaning residents don’t need their heating on for so long, associated carbon emissions are also reduced.
“Being pensioners on a fixed income, it has taken a lot of the worry off of us,” said Chris who lives at Shepherds Grove Park near Stanton. “We had our bill for last winter after these works were carried out and we really noticed the difference.
“We weren’t having to turn the heating up so much or for so long,” said Ann. “Our home would heat up more quickly and stay warmer for longer.”
The work has made possible after West Suffolk Council bid for and secured funding from the Government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, run by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
More than £1.5m of funding has been spent in West Suffolk. The money is being targeted at homes that have low energy efficiency ratings and where the household doesn’t have the income to pay for the improvements themselves. More than 150 West Suffolk households have already benefitted from free energy efficiency improvements. The Council continues to write to residents who it has identified as likely to match the Government grant criteria. Residents who haven’t received a letter can still see if they are eligible for free energy efficiency improvements to their home at www.warmhomessuffolk.org
For the residents living in park homes such as Chris and Ann and John and Jean Marjoram who also live at Shepherds Grove Park, the work has seen a thick layer of external wall insulation fitted all around their home, keeping it warm in winter and cool in the summer.
“When we were first contacted by the council about this, we thought it sounded too good to be true. But it was true. The contractors were excellent, and they even repainted our home afterwards. It has been brilliant,” said John.
“It was very good in the winter. We really noticed the difference then,” said Jean. “And this means we are in a better position than we would have been for the winter ahead and the increased costs in heating that we are all facing.”
A survey found 97 per cent of residents who had the work carried out, said their home stayed warmer for longer.
Leader of West Suffolk Council Cllr John Griffiths, Cabinet Member for the Environment Cllr Andy Drummond, and Stanton ward member Cllr Jim Thorndyke met the Marjorams and the Brittons recently to hear about the success of the work.
Cllr Griffiths said: “By improving the energy efficiency of these homes, we are helping residents to stay warm in winter while using their heating less and keeping their bills as low as possible. We bid for this Government money to help our residents in homes that had a low energy efficiency rating, so it was very good to hear from Chris, Ann, John, and Jean about the real difference that this work has made not just for them, but for many of their neighbours as well.”
Cllr Drummond said: “As well as helping our residents, this work is also helping our environment. As a council we are committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030 but we are also working to support our residents and businesses in helping our environment as well. The energy efficiency work means that each of these park homes will save around 500kg of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which all adds up to cleaner air and a better environment for us all.”
Cllr Thorndyke who represents the residents of Shepherds Grove Park, said: “I was delighted to see and hear first-hand about the benefits that this work has already brought to many of the residents of Shepherds Grove Park, helping them save energy, keep warm in winter and stay cool in summer, and it is great that this is being targeted at other homes across the district.”
Residents interested in finding out if they qualify for free energy efficiency improvements to their home should visit www.warmhomessuffolk.org
Hear more from Chris, Ann, John, and Jean at https://youtu.be/h-fwlPg02wQ