Better Homes Yorkshire is working with nine Local Authorities, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership to help to tackle fuel poverty. One of the latest pieces of work has been the installation of 17 gas central heating systems in the Selby District using funding from the Government’s Central Heating Fund.
The Nook is a small complex of six privately rented self contained flats in Selby; prior to the Council’s scheme it was heated by a mixture of electric storage heaters and on-peak electric heaters. Being an older building it is constructed with solid brick walls. The owner of the building is working on replacing the existing single glazed windows however the residents’ main issue has been the cost of heating through the winter months.
Selby District Council engaged Better Homes Yorkshire to provide help with the Central Heating Fund as part of its work to improve living conditions in the District’s privately rented homes.
Following checks on the residents’ qualification for the programme, asbestos and technical surveys were carried out by Better Homes Yorkshire. Northern Gas Networks then installed the properties’ first ever connections to mains gas; British Gas installed Smart Meters so that each flat has an independent mains gas connection. With these in place, Better Homes Yorkshire arranged to install full gas central heating and hot water systems to each flat providing the residents with an affordable way to heat their homes.
Each flat has its own heating system controlled by a timer, room thermostat, hot water thermostat, and thermostatic radiator valves.
The cost of adequately heating all six unimproved flats was estimated at a total of £3,795 per year, however the addition of gas central heating has reduced this estimate by 45% to £2,087*.
There are multiple benefits from this work:
Each flat has a Smart Meter display showing how much gas has been used and how much it has cost; it also removes the use of estimated meter readings as it provides regular consumption details direct to the supplier.
* Estimated from registered Energy Performance Certificates and Energy Saving Trust Home Energy Check
The need for repairs and maintenance to the fabric of the property resulting from condensation and mould will also be reduced.
Mould growth within small homes can be a significant contributory factor in respiratory illness, especially where occupiers are young children or older people and its eradication helps to make homes safer, healthier places to live.
The owner of the property Claire Woodruff said of the scheme: “These improvements have been a really welcome help to us in providing decent homes for our tenants. The work involved in organising new gas supplies, gas meters, heating systems, and of course working with our tenants has been enormous. The Council and Better Homes Yorkshire have been amazing in making it all work.”
Selby District Council’s Lead Councillor for Housing, Leisure, Health and Culture, Richard Musgrave, said: “Selby Council is committed to its work to improve conditions in private rented homes; improved homes contribute to healthier and more inclusive lives for our residents; this is what our partnership with Better Homes Yorkshire is about and I’m pleased that we are making a difference in 17 households through this one scheme.”
Stephen Batty, Head of Sustainability at Keepmoat said “Better Homes Yorkshire have worked in conjunction with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local authorities to provide over 250 households across the Leeds city region with a brand new central heating system. By working in partnership the Local Authorities and Better Homes Yorkshire were able to secure funding through the Governments Central Heating Fund Scheme and this has enabled us to reduce fuel poverty across the area as we continue our aim of improving the energy efficiency of over 12,000 homes.”