MAYOR of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Andy Street, recently visited a street in which more than 60 properties have had their energy efficiency improved through retrofit decarbonisation measures.
The properties, which are all located on Alston Road in Solihull, are part of a West Midlands-wide initiative to help residents reduce their energy usage and carbon footprint. To achieve this, the initiative involves providing homes with an energy performance (SAP) rating of ‘D’ or worse, with various improvements being made including external wall insulation (EWI), loft insulation, and ventilation upgrades to PAS 2030 / 2035 standards
Driven by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council , Solihull Community Housing and the WMCA, and being delivered by leading retrofit decarbonisation turnkey provider Sustainable Building Services (UK) Ltd, the project is funded in part by the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) and the Sustainable Warmth Competition. Both privately owned homes and those managed by Solihull Community Housing have benefited from various upgrades.
Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “Alston Road is a fantastic example of the benefits of taking a place-based approach to retrofit, with over half of households on this street set to benefit from homes that are warmer, cheaper to heat, and healthier.
“From speaking to residents, I know the massive difference that’s going to make which is why we’re keen to put our foot to the floor on this. The WMCA has already secured £70 million of Government and match funding from housing providers, we’re providing jobs and skills training to create a workforce and looking at how we can retrofit on a street-by-street basis through our Net Zero Neighbourhoods initiative.
“We’re continuing to work with Government and local partners to open up a more sustainable flow of funding through our recently announced deeper devolution deal so we can scale up our work on the ground and replicate success stories like Alston Road right across the region and show our commitment to being a net zero region by 2041.”
Derek Horrocks, owner of Sustainable Building Services and chair of the National Home Decarbonisation Group, said: “As the UK strives towards its net zero goals, we need to work together. As an industry, we to make a concerted effort to deliver these kinds of collaborative, mixed-tenure projects, making area-wide, large-scale impacts, so that we can meet the challenging targets set to decarbonise the UK’s inefficient housing stock.
“We’re thrilled with the progress that we’ve made as part of this initiative so far, working in close partnership with Solihull Council and Solihull Community Housing. Just 32% of domestic buildings in Solihull have a registered EPC rating of C or above. Although slightly higher than the regional average, we hope this can be used as an example across the country of what’s possible through retrofit decarbonisation and why each region needs to do its bit.”
Councillor Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said: “Getting the opportunity to visit homeowners and tenants on Alston Road has really brought home the benefits of making our homes more energy efficient. Speaking to the residents, their satisfaction with the scheme shone through as well as their anticipation of future savings on energy bills.
“What stands out about this scheme is the upgrades have been completed on both privately owned and socially rented homes, helping to make it a more inclusive, place based retrofit project. However, we know time is of the essence and we’ll continue to work closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority to secure additional funding for schemes like this that make such a difference to the local community.”
For more information on Sustainable Building Services’ work delivering large-scale, mixed-tenure retrofit decarbonisation across the UK, visit: www.sustainablebuildinguk.com