Council tenants on the Dene Park estate in Harrogate will see their fuel bills come down as they become the first in the district to benefit from the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. This scheme challenges energy companies to invest in reducing energy costs for their customers. All 256 flats, built by Wimpey in the 1970s, are to be externally insulated after they were identified within the region as being in a high risk fuel poverty area. The funding for this work – estimated at some £1.5m – was facilitated through Yorkshire Energy Partnership a not-for-profit organisation that is owned and supported by a number of local authorities including Harrogate Borough Council. Councillor Mike Chambers, the council’s Member for Housing, said that whilst popular in the post war years, the non-standard construction of these flats means there is no cavity wall making it difficult to make the properties fully fuel efficient. He added: “We have invested in these properties as part of our home improvement programme. They have high-efficiency gas boilers, are all double-glazed, have new roof-coverings and modern levels of roof insulation. Installing external wall insulation is the final piece of work that will make these flats the most energy efficient they can possibly be.
Mike said: According to the Energy Saving Trust, residents will be nearly £500 a year better off which is a huge saving. And, as well as saving residents money and giving them warmer homes, an added bonus is that it will save some 5790 tonnes of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere each year. We have a target of reducing carbon emissions across the district by 20 per cent by 2020. The success of the inclusion of Dene Park under the government’s ECO scheme is a good indicator that we are making progress.
The work will be carried out by Cosyseal and all 256 flats will be finished by March 2014.