Darlington Council announce strategy to help tenants enjoy warmer, more energy efficient homes

The ambitious plan that will see the Councils stock of 5,274 homes enjoy improved energy efficiency and cheaper fuel bills for tenants has now been published and is available to view at www.darlington.gov.uk/housing under ‘Our policies and performance’.

In addition, the strategy sets out work that will see council homes across the borough reaching the Government’s targets for energy efficiency and net zero carbon.

The residential housing sector accounts for 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions. As the largest social housing provider in Darlington, the council is committed to ensure its housing stock (which makes up approx. 10% of all the residential dwellings in Darlington) meets the Government’s targets for homes to meet a minimum of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2030 and net carbon zero by 2050.

The council has already made good progress to achieving this aim with a programme of work that has seen all remaining single glazed homes upgraded to double glazing. Almost £3million has been secured from outside grants to help improve the energy efficiency of almost 1,000 homes. Work has focussed on improvements to insulation, including loft and wall insulation, new doors, low energy lighting, double glazing, and in some cases, the installation of air source heat pumps and solar panels. All measures are designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes, reducing energy consumption which will save money on energy bills and make life more comfortable for tenants.

To ensure work stays on track, we have recruited a full-time Stock Condition Surveyor, who will carry out a rolling programme of surveys covering 100% of council homes, ensuring there is an up to date and complete picture of the condition of properties. This information will be used to evaluate what measures are required to bring each property up to EPC C.

In addition, the council has recently updated its new-build specification so that all new council homes will now include air source heat pumps, alongside the original specification for energy efficient windows, doors and insulation. This will ensure that the new build homes will achieve a minimum EPC B rating.

Alongside energy efficiency improvements, work will also focus on the natural environment looking at ways to encourage biodiversity such as wildflower meadows and tree planting to support the council’s Tree and Woodland Strategy.

Councillor Matthew Roche, the council's cabinet member for housing, said: “I am delighted to have this strategy in place to increase the energy efficiency of our council homes providing our tenants with warmer homes and cheaper fuel bills. We have increased the amount of funding we are putting in through more investment and by raising funds from other sources.

“We are working hard to listen to tenants’ needs and achieve a balance of work to provide good energy efficiency as well as continuing to improve the standard of homes through other planned work such as new bathrooms and kitchens where needed.”

Councillor Chris McEwan, deputy leader and portfolio holder for climate change added: “This is an ambitious strategy that will help to future proof our housing stock for years to come with extra measures to improve energy efficiency and explore alternative heating technologies.

“As part of our aim towards net zero by 2040, we monitor the wider borough emissions and are encouraging residents and businesses to join us on this journey. This work will lead to reduced borough emissions and will help our tenants at a time of ever-increasing fuel bills.”

https://www.darlington.gov.uk/your-council/news/news-item/?id=2046

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