An innovative green Leeds City Council housing scheme has scooped a top regional award.
As part of the Northern Housing Awards 2021, the council fought off tough competition from a shortlist which included other local authorities and leading organisations in the housing sector to claim the ‘best carbon reduction scheme/innovation’ prize. This follows the introduction of the authority’s first Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) project, which using green energy has transformed the heating and hot water systems and brought additional other benefits to tenants living in 120 flats in two-high rise blocks located in west Leeds.
Using a heat exchange loop to tap into heat from the earth, GSHP technology creates three to four times more energy than it consumes and in doing so has improved the energy performance at the properties it serves by on average two SAP ratings or above. Not only does the use of GSHP increase the levels of warmth for tenants, it also can help significantly reduce energy bills, and in doing so, also play its part in helping to reduce fuel poverty for those residents on low incomes.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities said:
“We are absolutely delighted and extremely proud that our GSHP decarbonising project has been named as the best carbon reduction scheme/innovation scheme at this year’s Northern Housing Awards.
“We are determined to ensure that our housing stock are meeting the best possible environmental standards, whilst also crucially providing a range of meaningful benefits to our tenants by helping to reduce bills, whilst also helping us as a city tackle key issues such as fuel poverty. This scheme which incorporated 120 flats in two tower blocks is a fantastic example of the type of initiatives we are undertaking to achieve these aims, and it is wonderful to see the initiative recognised in this way.
“Such has been the success of the initiative we are now moving forward with the introduction of further GSHP project in other high-rise blocks, which forms part of our £100m investment programme over the next five years. This type of work is vitally important if we are as a city to meet our aim for Leeds to become carbon neutral by 2030.”
Following the announcement of the award, judges remarked that the project was ‘making a tangible difference to the environment and residents’, and that it was also ‘great to see the additional value benefits squeezed out of the initiative’. Through the scheme, which was delivered in partnership with Cenergist and Kensa, the council also worked closely with both the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University to evaluate energy improvement levels and to measure its social and environmental impact.
Such has been the success of the project, the council has subsequently earmarked other high rise blocks in Leeds to benefit from GSHP technology as part of a wider £100m investment plan which aim is to help tenants save money and cut carbon by improving energy efficiency over the next five years. The investment will also support the council’s commitment to make Leeds a greener, fairer and healthier city.