Avonside Energy Efficiency is undertaking a £2.7m contract in South Lanarkshire as part of a new Scottish Government initiative to tackle fuel poverty and increase energy efficiency in homes.
South Lanarkshire Council was awarded funding from HEEPS, the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland, to part-fund the work needed to improve the energy efficiency of 290 homes (in 31 blocks of low-rise flats) at Fernhill in the Glasgow suburb of Rutherglen.
Government funding of £280,000 will assist the energy-efficiency works for 99 home-owners, and the grant has been coupled with an ECO contribution from Npower.
HEEPS is a cluster of programmes offering various funding schemes for households who are vulnerable to fuel poverty or who live in the most deprived areas. The initiative is to make homes warmer, more environmentally friendly and easier and cheaper to heat.
Avonside Energy Efficiency started work on this particular project in May, and work is expected to finish early in 2015. The extensive programme includes thermal roof and external wall insulation, integrated satellite telecommunication systems and repairs to a range of external environmental works that should deliver savings on energy bills estimated at between £250 and £400 per household per year.
The Fernhill project has also allowed Avonside to invest in local employment and the local economy, as director Gary Collinson points out: “This contract has enabled us to create new jobs – we have already taken on 11 local people. Our objective is to offer four apprenticeship placements, providing new skills that will be needed over the next few years as the Scottish Government works towards mitigating fuel poverty.”
Housing minister Margaret Burgess adds: “Households need all the help they can get to keep their energy bills down. Measures such as solid wall insulation can make a huge difference to Scottish families who are struggling to make ends meet, allowing them to heat their homes more cost-effectively.
“It is my belief that everyone should live in a safe warm home that doesn’t cost the earth to keep. That is also good news for jobs and the economy, with projects like this one in South Lanarkshire generating work and supporting jobs.”
Mike Wood at South Lanarkshire Council says: “One of our top priorities is tackling fuel poverty and we recognise that one of the best ways to achieve this is to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock. Improving the stock has other benefits, too, such as helping the council to meet challenging climate-change targets by reducing carbon emissions.
“Building on investment of £30m over the last few years, we are spending a further £12m this year, covering a wide range of energy-efficiency work including heating and insulation. The work being undertaken for us by Avonside Energy Efficiency is therefore extremely important to the Council and we are delighted to have them working with us.”
This is one of many such projects that Avonside Energy Efficiency is delivering where it is also helping to develop specifications to maximise savings.
Tony Burke, managing director of Avonside Group Services, adds: “Rising energy bills remain a huge concern for the UK today and this innovative initiative demonstrates how the public and private sector can work effectively together to reduce household energy bills and make carbon savings, benefiting the environment as a whole.”