Birmingham to Introduce Green Housing Revolution

By on 21/01/2010 in News

A ground breaking project which could ultimately see all homes in Birmingham retrofitted with energy efficient improvements, will next Friday (29th) be considered by Birmingham City Council.

To be launched initially as a pilot project within Aston, Lozells, Newtown and Northfield, the Green New Deal will see up to 25,000 homeowners and 1000 businesses offered the chance to have significant energy improvements made to their properties both through insulation and small scale generation, which in the long term will leave them in profit.

Simply by hitting its five-year target that 1 in 5 homes in the pilot area take up the retro-fitting offer (5,000 homes) the project will see an annual CO2 saving of more than 3750 tonnes, and create 270 job in the process.

As well as saving homeowners money, and cutting carbon emissions, the pilot project will also create/protect 111 jobs and 170 apprenticeships thanks to a £1,186,000 contribution from BeBirmingham through the Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF).

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The project offers a fantastic opportunity for homeowners to not only cut carbon pollution, but also save themselves thousands of pounds by drastically reducing future bills without the need for any huge up front payment.

“With domestic properties accounting for 33% of total carbon pollution within the city, and commercial premises 46%, the project will deliver one of the objectives of the Birmingham Declaration on Climate Change that 10% of Birmingham homes will have retrofit insulation by 2015 and substantially help Birmingham reach its ambitious CO2 reduction targets of 60% by 2026.

“So if we can successfully operate this scheme within the pilot area, and really get local people bought in, then there is no reason at all we can't look to roll this out across all of Birmingham in the future, setting a green standard beyond that of any city in the world.”

Cllr John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing, added: “Birmingham City Council has a clear commitment to ensuring the best quality housing for its citizens, as demonstrated by work such as the Decent Homes programme and the innovative Summerfield Eco-housing project

“The Green New Deal now presents people with a very attractive proposition for the long-term future - if they are willing to make improvements that make their homes greener, they can benefit in a number of ways.

“As well as improving the environment, the problem of fuel poverty can be eradicated, enhancing the health and well-being of our citizens. I would urge people to seriously consider the offer we will be presenting to them in the coming months.”

While Government grants and subsidies will be available for many homeowners wishing to take part in the project, even for those not eligible the Council will operate a scheme which allows the cost to be paid back over future years using the savings made on energy bills and Government bonus payments made for the use of microgeneration. (** see illustration in notes to editor)

Under the Government's 'Warm Front Grants' people over 60 or with young children, who are eligible for benefits, may also be able to claim up to £3500 toward the cost of any work - in many cases fully subsidising the entire cost.

As well as offering affordable payment options for installations, the council will also be offering anyone wishing to retro-fit their property with:

? A free survey and expert technical advice
? Free supervision of the works and quality assurance.
? Prices for work significantly below the market norms due to the Council's ability to buy in bulk.

Ends

Note to editors:

For homeowners in the pilot areas who are interested in participating in this scheme, please contact BB.Bep@birmingham.gov.uk

Illustrative Example:

Homeowner A (not entitled to subsidies) installs insulation, a new boiler and photo-voltaic panels to their home at a cost of £12,000 - this is paid for by taking out a loan from the project therefore incurs no upfront cost.

These energy improvements achieve an annual saving on utility bills of £660 per year, plus the photo-voltaic panels generates revenue of £307 per year (Government bonus and sale of excess energy).

If loan was taken over 25 years, by end of loan period savings and payments achieved would mean homeowner had not only repaid loan plus interest, but would also be over £9000 in profit.

For more information please contact Simon Houltby on 0121 303 3503

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