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The minister has seen how government plans to make existing homes warmer and cheaper to run could work on the Coronation Streets of the future.
With the countdown to the government’s Green Deal initiative underway, the minister visited the University of Salford’s pioneering Energy House. The life-sized Coronation Street-style terraced property has been built within a sealed chamber for testing ways to reduce domestic energy consumption, and can show how existing homes can be made more sustainable.
The Green Deal is a new and radical way of making energy efficiency available to all. Under the scheme, homeowners and tenants will be able sign up for Green Deal providers to upgrade properties so they become more energy efficient.
No money will be paid upfront - instead people will be able to pay for the green home improvements over time, with all the costs to upgrade the property paid back from the savings on energy bills. By allowing the improvements to be paid for gradually, the scheme will remove one of the biggest barriers for retrofitting existing homes - the cost of the initial investment.
The visit to Energy House comes as the government published the biennial report on progress to make the nation’s buildings more sustainable. A new design for the front page of Energy Performance Certificates has also been revealed. The changes will make the certificate more relevant and engaging to householders, and help them understand what action can be taken to make their homes warmer and save money on energy bills.
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said:
“Over 40% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the built environment, so we must make every effort to ensure retrofit schemes like the Green Deal work, or the country risks losing its battle against climate change. That’s why I’ve come to the Energy House today. This fantastic facility shows us that greening our homes isn’t just an elite pastime, it’s something everyone can do.
“With the countdown to the Green Deal underway, the Energy House will be a vital tool for understanding how measures to improve energy efficiency measures work in practice. I have argued for many years that we must close the gap between the predicted improvements of retrofitting and actual energy performance, so I’m delighted the Energy House will help us achieve this.”
The minister also witnessed the work being carried out by the University of Salford’s Energy Hub, to encourage tenants to take up the Green Deal. Mr Stunell said improving tenant engagement will be vital to the success of the Green Deal. The Energy Hub’s work will help social landlords understand how to get tenants on board, and the best way for social landlords to promote the retrofit scheme.
Greater Manchester is already leading the way in this area, with social housing trailblazer projects in the city helping to get the market going and demonstrating the vast potential for the Green Deal in the social sector.