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Work gets underway to improve energy efficiency of West Midlands’ homes

Orbit, the WMCA and VINCI Facilities Building Solutions have begun work on upgrading the Energy Performance of 70 properties after funding from the SHDF.
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Housing provider, Orbit, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and VINCI Facilities Building Solutions have begun work on upgrading the Energy Performance of 70 properties across the West Midlands, after securing funding from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Wave 1.

The project is one of two successful bids for funding that Orbit submitted as part of the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Wave 1 scheme. The programme will benefit from a total of £1.4m of SHDF funding, along with an additional £4.6m investment from Orbit, to provide more customers across the region with a more energy efficient home using the latest technology and innovation.

The scheme will take a deep, fabric first, retrofit approach using energy efficient doors and windows, along with loft and wall insulation and some low carbon heating, to increase the energy performance of the homes located throughout the West Midlands. Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of June 2023.

The programme follows the success of the Demonstrator project, which saw Orbit and its partners successfully upgrade 69 poor energy performing social homes (EPC rating D or below) in and around Stratford-upon-Avon.

Ted Pearce, Director of Strategic Asset Management at Orbit, commented: “We are delighted to be starting work on upgrading our next portfolio of homes in partnership with WMCA and VINCI Facilities.

“As the cost of living continues to bite, it’s now more important than ever that we reaffirm our commitment to taking the steps required to provide our customers in the region with more energy efficient homes and sustainable communities in the long term.”

Jeanette Hodges, Head of Carbon and Operations added “This in-depth programme of works also plays a key role in delivering on net zero carbon targets and reducing carbon emissions, even within harder to treat homes. Committing to a deep retrofit while customers remain living in their home is a complex undertaking, but we have learnt invaluable lessons from the Demonstrator project which will steer our approach and ensure our customers can soon begin enjoying the benefits of a more energy efficient home.”

George Simms, who leads the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) SMART Hub (Sustainable Market for Affordable Retrofit Technologies), said: “The WMCA is working closely with our partner local authorities and their registered housing providers to use our expertise to help them tap into Government funding to ramp up retrofit activity. So far we’ve supported successful applications for almost £50million, including this £1.4 million that will benefit Orbit residents.

“We’re also helping to grow local supply chains and train up the retrofit workforce. Alongside more sustained, longer-term retrofit funding that will come to the region through the Deeper Devolution Deal, this will mean we can help make even more homes warmer and more energy efficient, reducing residents’ energy bills and supporting the West Midlands #WM2041 drive towards net zero.”

Barry Boxall, Divisional Director VINCI Facilities Building Solutions said “Working in partnership with Orbit and WMCA we will deliver excellent quality, safe and warm, energy efficient homes for residents. As a trusted main contractor, we ensure that the customer’s experience is at the forefront of all that we do. The partnership encourages innovative solutions that are delivered with discipline and in strict accordance with PAS 2035. The measures installed will future proof people’s homes in line with Orbit’s net zero ambition. Residents will benefit from a better quality of life and reduced energy consumption.”

Wave 1 will upgrade more than 20,000 social housing properties that are currently below an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C rating.

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