Greater Manchester launches Your Home Better to help residents with energy crisis

536

Posted 2 years ago

Your Home Better is a new scheme for homeowners in Greater Manchester to enable them to futureproof their homes to combat increasing energy costs as well as reducing carbon emissions.

The retrofit scheme brings together a consortium of experts on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and is aimed at homeowners in the region. Your Home Better offers expert advice on the changes people can make to their homes as well as helping residents find suitable qualified contractors. The scheme then provides a retrofit coordinator to support the householder and make sure that the work is delivered to a quality standard.

The initiative will enable people to explore a range of options from small measures to a whole house zero carbon retrofit. Greater Manchester has a target of reaching net zero by 2038. Our single largest source of carbon is home heating and to stay on target we need to be retrofitting measures in around 61,000 homes per year.

Retrofit means making improvements to the existing building to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. The measures could include installing thicker loft insulation, a range of approaches to wall insulation, fitting solar photovoltaic panels (PVs) and battery storage, installing triple glazing or switching to a heat pump.

Councillor Martyn Cox, GMCA lead for Green City Region and Waste and Recycling, says: ‘Your Home Better can support residents on a journey to create more energy efficient homes in Greater Manchester. Just about all homes in the city region have the potential to use less fuel for heating lighting and appliances. By planning ahead and making changes to your home, whether that is reducing how much energy your home uses through better insulation or installing solar PV and batteries you are going to see those benefits in years to come.

‘This is about not only reducing energy bills for people but also looking at our carbon footprint and working to reduce that together.’

Your Home Better has a number of tools online to help residents make a plan for improvements. This will take into consideration the type of property you live in as well as your overall budget. There are different levels of plans with a basic for single improvements or a more detailed house plan for more extensive retrofit solutions.

Charlie Baker, Consortium Director of Your Home Better, says: ‘We know that this is something that can improve people’s lives immeasurably. We are working with a range of experts including University of Salford to ensure that we have a trusted offer for residents to provide affordable retrofit to reduce energy bills and carbon. We are particularly keen to see people come forward for solar PV panels and batteries.

‘We also know that most people don’t have a lot of money to invest in retrofit, so we are working with our partners social enterprise Lendology CIC to offer a socially minded way of lending money to make this an affordable option for homeowners.’

The scheme is not free of charge and does require the investment to come from the individual household. The plan will show what improvements you can make and it will give you an estimated annual fuel bill saving as well as the estimated tonnes of CO2 saved annually if you make these retrofit improvements.

To find our more about the retrofit measures, including solar PV panels, visit https://yourhomebetter.co.uk

Lyndsey

Lyndsey Kavanagh

Folly Lane, Salford

Lyndsey Kavanagh moved into her house in Swinton three years ago. It was the first house that she and her husband had bought together and they were happy that on the face of it, it didn’t need much doing to it.

The house, which dates from the Edwardian era is semi-detached with some original features and was well presented. However, as the couple faced their first winter in their new home it proved to be a very cold one.

Lyndsey says: “We thought when we moved in that there wouldn’t be much to do, but it was absolutely freezing. At that point we were planning a family and we didn’t want the house to be so cold.

“I started researching what we could do to adapt the house to make it warmer. One of my main concerns was that the house was old and I wanted any work to be done sympathetically so that it preserved the character and integrity of the house.”

Lyndsey came across the Red Coop and they came out to assess the house and provided a full zero carbon plan of everything that the couple could do to their home to make it warmer and reduce energy.

Lyndsey, who works as a project officer for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership in the Strategic Clinical Network, says: “It was really helpful and we decided to work with them to make adaptations to our home.”

The Kavanaghs had internal wall insulation throughout the front of the house, in the living and dining areas and the front bedrooms. They also had the loft insulated and the basement ceiling insulated.

Lyndsey says: “We opted for this as the front of the house was colder. We worked with Charlie Baker from Red Coop who guided us through the process and ensured the work was done to fit with the age of the house.”

The couple’s first child arrived last October and the work was finished ahead of Christmas 2021.

Lyndsey says: “We haven’t been able to compare energy bills yet, but we know it is so much warmer. It is comfortable to be here now. I’m really pleased we did it, as I didn’t want to live in a house that was aesthetically pleasing but didn’t have basic warmth.

“I think it can feel prohibitively expensive to make these improvements, but the Your Home Better scheme sounds like a viable way to do this.”