Leeds City Council targets low-income households with green upgrades

More than 900 homes have benefited from a combined £9.5m investment in environmental upgrades aimed at lowering household bills, reducing emissions, and improving air quality. 

Funded by the Better Homes Yorkshire project, Leeds City Council, and partner Equans, some of the oldest and coldest private owned homes in the area have received free-of-charge work over the past two years, essentially meaning the least energy efficient properties on the market have been significantly improved. 

city with high rise buildings under gray sky

While primarily aimed at tackling fuel poverty — with a. 2019 survey finding one-in-six Leeds addresses (16.8%) were struggling with energy bills — the reduction in power demand resulting from improvements will also help reduce overall emissions in the region, in turn lowering levels of harmful air pollutants.

In the latest tranche, 558 homes have been fitted with 1.7megawatt rooftop solar panels, producing free electricity in daylight hours with the potential to sell excess back to the National Grid. 238 homes are now benefitting from external wall insulation technology, which mimics a building’s facade, locking in heat without sacrificing indoor space.

Elsewhere, hundreds of homeowners and landlords have also been given support in rolling out alternative insulation, including room-in-roof, loft, cavity wall, roof, internal wall, and underfloor, all of which are proven to have a huge impact on domestic energy use. Mirroring surveys that point to UK housing stock as being among Europe’s least energy efficient, in Leeds the overall environmental cost of heating and powering outdated houses accounts for around 25% of the city’s overall carbon footprint. 

‘Funding like this is vital when it comes to reducing the carbon emissions of ordinary homes and I am pleases that we have been able to bring our energy and regeneration expertise to this scheme,’ said Equans Director of Sustainability for the Better Homes Yorkshire project, Steve Batty. ‘The Better Homes Yorkshire project has enabled us to work directly with Leeds City Council to make sure this funding reached the least energy efficient households and it demonstrates that a city-wide approach can achieve remarkable results. The project has paved the way for more like it as and when future funding schemes are announced.’ 

In September, Leeds City Council announced work was underway in expanding its low-carbon heat network.

Image: Lison Zhao


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