Leeds City Council is to invest £100 million on measures to help tenants save money and cut carbon by improving energy efficiency over the next five years.
Thousands more council tenants will benefit from cheaper energy bills and warmer homes as a result of the transformative investment which will be funded primarily through housing revenues. New technologies will include ground and air source heat pumps, district heating networks, external wall insulation, and solar panels.
By improving the energy efficiency of homes the measures are expected to help residents facing fuel poverty and prevent the most vulnerable from suffering cold-related illnesses. The investment will support the council’s commitment to reduce the city’s direct emissions to net-zero by 2030 and make Leeds a greener, fairer and healthier city. It will also support local ‘green’ jobs in industries carrying out the improvements.
Around a quarter of the city’s carbon emissions come from the energy used to heat our homes. Leeds City Council has been working in partnership with the University of Leeds to identify the best way to target these improvements to maximise the benefits for residents and the environment.
New external wall insulation was recently fitted to three high rise blocks in Burmantofts, helping to regenerate the buildings and reduce the energy bills of 300 flats. Shakespeare Towers, Grange, and Court has also been connected to the city’s Leeds PIPES district heating network, supplying low-carbon waste-powered heat and hot water to residents. Previous investment means that the average council home is already warmer and more efficient than the average privately owned home in Leeds.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Communities said:
“Everyone deserves to live in a warm home that can be heated affordably, so I am delighted that we are ramping up efforts to help even more residents over the next five years. Living in a warm and energy efficient home is better for our health, better for our finances, and better for the planet too.”
Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development said:
“This is an ambitious investment that reaffirms this council’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency. We’re doing everything we can to make the properties we own fit for the future.
“However, we now need a long-term, national plan that enables private homeowners to invest in their properties and gives reassurance to local businesses to hire and train workers with the skills needed to meet the demand for sustainable housing.”
Leeds City Council delivered the Shakespeare’s project in partnership with Engie. The retrofit works included external wall insulation, new roofing and structural repairs. Works to transform the Shakespeare buildings through retrofit received funding from the European Regional Development Fund (£0.7 million) and the council’s housing revenue account (£3.8 million).
Connections to the wider £36 million district heating network have been delivered in partnership between Leeds City Council and Vital Energi with funding support from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund.