This time last year, Keepmoat was upgrading more than 500 solid wall homes every week with external wall insulation (as well as other energy efficiency measures) with funding support under the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).
We had terrific levels of uptake servicing projects up and down the country, in many cases improving 100% of solid wall homes in the communities we worked in irrespective of housing tenure. This was often driven by word of mouth due to great feedback from householders on the new found warmth in their homes, significant reductions in their gas bills and the improved appearance of their streets.
It was also this time last year that Keepmoat proudly became one of the first companies to achieve Green Deal Provider status. However, as there was a slow start to Green Deal finance, we initially focused our attention on works supported by Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding. We aimed to manage our transition into ECO by continuing to insulate solid wall homes under the Carbon Emission Reduction Obligation (also known as CSO – the Carbon Saving Obligation), make use of the Home Heat Cost Reduction Obligation (also known as Affordable Warmth) to lift households out of fuel poverty and continue to upgrade homes in the most deprived communities under the Carbon Saving Communities Obligation (CSCO).
Building on the excellent relationships developed with the obligated energy companies under CESP, Keepmoat has expanded many existing external wall schemes into neighbouring areas. We are now steadily ramping up our delivery with major new area-based solid wall and hard to treat cavity insulation schemes.
We have developed our internal systems and processes to deliver under the new Green Deal and ECO frameworks, including delivering a number of successful DECC supported Go Early pilot projects and we have helped a number of our customers claim Green Deal cashback funding. So far this year, we have successfully delivered more than £18m of ECO funding under the new OFGEM procedures for CSO/CSCO as well as under the more challenging Affordable Warmth requirements.
Much of this early work, supported by ECO funding, has focused on tackling fuel poverty and we have established successful partnerships with a number of Local Authorities. A great example of this is our new Warm Homes Oldham service which aims to lift 1,000 people out of fuel poverty this year. This has been set up with support from Oldham Council, NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group and Oldham Housing Investment Partnership. The financial rationale of the scheme is the shared belief that by tackling fuel poverty we can reduce the cost burden on health care and social services.
Keepmoat is optimistic about the year ahead. There are always teething problems with any major new initiative, however we fully expect that we will be motoring ahead again soon. We hope to test and adopt a range of new incentives to help drive uptake of Green Deal under the DECC Community Energy Funding.
As the Green Deal and ECO funding enables our business and our supply chain of local companies to grow, we will also have employed and trained more people in new and exciting jobs. By this time next year, we believe we will have lifted thousands more homes out of fuel poverty across Great Britain.