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British Gas partners with Solihull Community Housing on multi-million pound energy conservation project

Solihull Community Housing has announced it will be working in partnership with British Gas, Britain’s largest energy provider, to bring further energy efficiency measures to almost 2,000 tenants of Solihull Council.

The energy conservation project, which totals £27 million, includes £25 million of Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding and £2m of Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) funding. The ECO project, one of the first of its size to be announced by British Gas, will insulate 35 Solihull Community Housing high rises and install bio-mass district heating units in 26 buildings.

All work will be complete by March 31st 2015, with each individual high rise taking just over three months to finish. Phase one of the work has already begun on ten of the borough’s high rises, with the rest of the buildings following in succession. The project will see a number of local people employed, helping to generate new jobs in the local area in a range of roles from tenant liaison work to construction jobs.

The new insulation will make the buildings more thermally efficient, meaning that residents can enjoy warmer homes. They may also see a reduction in heating costs once the work has been completed. The installation of the bio-mass heating will also provide tenants with a much higher degree of control over their individual heating needs.

British Gas, Solihull Community Housing and the Council have worked in partnership for 10 years on various obligation schemes. This follows the successful completion of a £2 million project upgrading two other high rise flats in the borough last year, Clare and Pembroke Houses, under the previous CESP scheme. A number of residents have already benefited from insulation across the community.

Steve Gapik, from British Gas, commented: “We are delighted to continue working with Solihull Community Housing and we are certain that we can make a real improvement to the homes we work on. Under the new ECO scheme, British Gas will be installing insulation to almost 2,000 homes across the borough over the next two years.

“This will make a real difference for Solihull’s residents. Although energy costs may be rising, through this funding we are helping people to live in a comfortable, warm environment whilst keeping their energy bills down.

"The bio-mass installation in the 26 high rises means that people living there will now have the ability to closely control their heating and hence manage their energy budgets.

“Solihull’s residents can expect to see a real improvement over the coming months as the partnership invests on a big scale to tackle fuel poverty and a wide range of energy problems.”

Karen Preece, Director of Finance & Investment at Solihull Community Housing, said: “We are delighted to be able to roll out this improvement programme.

“Clare and Pembroke Houses are enjoying a new lease of life following their facelift and we are thrilled to be able to extend this real improvement to all of our other tenants living in high rises, and they look fabulous!

“The flats should be much more economical to heat and tenants will hopefully see some reduction in their fuel bills.”

North Solihull is undergoing a major investment programme with two new village centres and a schools improvement and replacement programme in the pipeline over the next few years. We expect that the ECO project will really complement this programme to really lift the north Solihull area.

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