Orbit has committed to invest £5 million in the first stage of a rolling energy efficiency programme to 2020. The first stage will be complete by June 2015 and will improve 1048 homes. Some £588,000 of ECO funding from British Gas contributes to the £5 million total.
Orbit’s large financial commitment is in line with its ambitious target to ensure all its homes are EPC rating Band C by 2020. Such a bold move to tackle fuel poverty is coupled with a commitment to provide energy and financial advice to 20,000 people by 2020. In 2013-14 over 6,000 people received that advice.
Orbit is due to start on site shortly on the first scheme in its energy efficiency programme with 60 homes at Elliott Drive in Wellesbourne.
The work at Elliott Drive has been contracted to affordable housing construction company, Wates Living Space, who will be working in partnership with Orbit to engage members of the community and provide training and employment opportunities for local people.
Plans are also in place for work at homes in Coventry, Burton on Trent and Northampton.
Of the 1,048 homes in the programme, 426 will be externally clad with insulation. Not only will this save energy and help Orbit customers keep warm, but will also enhance the external appearance of the homes.
John Barnham, Head of Sustainable Investment at Orbit, said: “Work on these 60 homes is just the start of a programme that will take us right through to 2020 – a programme that will see our customers feel more comfortable in their homes, spend less money on heating bills and become more energy-saving savvy.”
Stewart Reid, Business Director of Wates Living Space, commented: “This is an important project that will ultimately result in substantial fuel savings for Orbit’s customers and enable them to live comfortably in warm properties for less. However, our work in communities like Wellesbourne goes beyond building and will result in numerous economic and social benefits for local people through a programme of community engagement and employment and training opportunities.”
Jane Allen, from British Gas, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Orbit and we are certain that this project will make a real difference for the customers. Through this funding we are helping the local community to live in a comfortable, warm environment whilst keeping their energy bills down.”
On 26 September, a community roadshow was held at Elliott Drive – you can access a video of what Orbit’s customers had to say about the planned works here: