Council awarded £380,000 to retrofit and improve council houses

Published: Tuesday, 8th June 2021

Oxford City Council has been awarded £382,030 in Government funding to retrofit 240 properties within its own council housing stock.

The funding will allow the Council to improve the energy efficiency of its housing stock for residents who are on lower household incomes.

The Council will be targeting 240 properties for improvement works, which includes:

  • Cavity wall insulation at 100 properties
  • Loft insulation at 100 properties
  • External wall insulation at 30 properties
  • Air Source Heat Pump heating systems installation at 10 properties

The Council has been awarded £382,030 from BEIS’ Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery 1B scheme, and it will also be contributing £350,000 to the project. 

The Council has been undertaking a two year asset management review with detailed surveys of its Council housing properties that have EPC ratings of D,E,F,G in order to gather accurate baseline data and look at the best solutions for reducing the carbon footprint. 

The properties selected will have an energy performance certificate (EPC) of band D or below, and a household income of less than £30,000 per year. 

Tenants will be consulted on the proposals and will be given information on how they can help to reduce their own carbon footprint.

Retrofitting 

A report of carbon emissions found that 81% of the total carbon emissions within Oxford came from energy and fuel use in buildings.

Oxford City Council has set out an ambition to ensure all council tenants are living in a property which meets this at least EPC Band C standard by 2030.

Currently, it is estimated that 50% of Oxford council homes currently meet or exceed this standard and we are carrying out further detailed surveys to target our investment programmes. The council’s strategy reflects Oxford’s enduring need for sustainable, efficient and enduring homes.

The investment follows the Council’s commitment to tackle the climate emergency, and the Oxford Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change in 2019.

Assembly members were surprised that the largest proportion of emissions in Oxford came from buildings. There was a perceived need for a balanced approach to decreasing emissions from buildings while simultaneously working to resolve the current affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Oxford.

Assembly members believed that the buildings sector should adopt improved building standards, widespread retrofitting, and more domestic and non-domestic energy needs being met by sustainable sources.

Residential buildings contributed 29% of the total emissions, and were found to be the greatest single contributor. Within this, socially rented housing made up 21% of emissions, while privately rented and owned homes contributed 79% of residential housing emissions in Oxford.

The Council has also outlined £50m of planned capital investment to retrofit its housing stock, on top of over £7m additional spend on reducing carbon emissions over the next four years to tackle the climate emergency.

At the Zero Carbon Oxford Summit, the Council along with other leading stakeholders across the city agreed an ambition to help achieve a zero carbon city by 2040. Retrofitting existing homes is key to realising that.

“I am delighted that that we have been awarded this Government funding and are building on the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly. Buildings are one of Oxford’s largest emitters of carbon, and we need to work with our tenants to make sure that their homes more energy efficient. This retrofitting funding will ultimately help us to reduce our emissions, and save our tenants money.”
Councillor Diko Blackings, Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing, Housing Security, and Housing the Homeless