Free insulation available for some households

Update - Thursday, 19 March 2009

Energy monitorEnergy monitor display units are now available to borrow from the ATC. This loan scheme, in partnership with Calderdale Council Housing Energy Action Team, enables you to see at a glance what energy is being used – and how much money you are spending. The monitors are available to borrow for two weeks at a time. You will also get free low energy light bulbs and other goodies (while they last), and information on energy saving – what grant schemes and other help is available – especially for the hard to treat housing we have here in the valley.

Friday, 13 March 2009

aerial survey of homes to produce colour-coded images showing how much heat buildings are losing.

Free and discounted loft and cavity wall insulation is on offer to certain households across the borough.

The free insulation is available to low income households; to people of any age who have a physical disability which limits their mobility, or a cold-related condition or illness; and the over-60s.

Private homeowners who don't qualify for the free insulation can have it installed at a subsidised price, for a limited period. Subject to survey, cavity wall is available from just £99 and loft insulation from just £169 (based on a three-bedroom semi-detached dwelling). The discounted prices through Homecare Home Improvements are amongst the cheapest across the whole of Yorkshire and have been funded by the Regional Housing Board.

Calderdale Council is also carrying out an aerial survey of homes which will help people to see how energy efficient their homes are. The survey will measure heat loss from the roofs of houses and buildings in the borough. The images taken will show the outlines of the building, not detailed images, and will be colour-coded according to how much heat the building is losing.

The Hebden Bridge Web contacted Calderdale Council to point out that in Hebden Bridge and surrounding villages, we have mainly terraced houses which have attics as bedrooms (rather than lofts) and which don't have cavity walls, and asked whether the council has a strategy for such houses.

Calderdale Council have replied to the Hebden Bridge Web that the Council is aware that almost 50% of privately owned homes in the Borough are stone terraces with little or no cavity and many have attic bedrooms. They are classed as hard to treat. We are informed that the Council is developing a project to help households insulate attic bedrooms by trying to attract funding to offset the higher costs associated with insulating these homes. The work is still in the planning stage but is likely to start in the next year.

The Council acknwledged that "The stone terraces throughout Calderdale are often lived in by lower income households, they also tend to have higher energy bills and are more likely to suffer ill health, debt and social and financial exclusion as a result of not being able to heat their homes sufficiently."

Further work is being done to lobby government and energy companies to bring this matter to their attention. In order to achieve their carbon savings, energy companies provide significant subsidies towards conventional fibre loft and cavity wall insulation which is cheap to manufacture, easy to install and achieves the best value for money in terms of saving energy. More needs to be done to increase the subsidy available and reduce the costs of the materials that can be used to insulate the older housing stock in the borough.

The Building Research Establishment has included a stone back to back terrace in Todmorden in their research into sustainable refurbishment. As part of this, new efficient internal cladding for walls and attic rooms are being installed. Testing before and afterwards will give good data about what increases in energy efficiency can be achieved against the cost and disruption of having it installed.

Residents in the area are encouraged to respond to the government’s current consultation Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) which is to be delivered by 2012. Details of this are available here. (Respond by 8th May)

Through this process we are hoping to attract more funding into Calderdale to assist lower income families in these properties. It is also hoped that increasing the scale of this work will help bring material and installation costs down making it cheaper for more affluent households who don’t qualify for any of the free work.

Councillor Ian Cooper, community services portfolio holder, said, “Calderdale Council is committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live in a warmer, more comfortable home. Any support towards making people's homes more energy efficient and reducing their energy bills will be even more welcome in the current economic climate. We encourage all private homeowners to contact us to find out more about the assistance we can provide.”

Further details on all the schemes are available from the Council by contacting 0845 245 6000 or emailing

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