An energy-efficiency housing scheme that replaced tenants’ gas boilers with heat pumps – and will help combat rising fuel costs – made the finals of national awards.

Kirklees Council’s Abbey Road Retrofit scheme in Fartown was made a finalist in the Best Social Housing category at the MJ Awards in June which recognises excellence and innovation in council services.

The council’s Homes and Neighbourhoods team worked alongside tenants to design the project after listening to the impact fuel poverty was having on their lives.

A total of eight existing council properties at Abbey Road were included in the project, and benefited from the following energy efficiency measures which will help reduce energy costs:

  • Heat pumps were installed. Gas boilers and cookers were removed ending reliance on fossil fuel
  • Loft insulation top up, cavity wall insulation and external wall insulation
  • New roofs were fitted and the chimneys dropped to remove a possible cold bridge
  • Triple glazed windows
  • Photovoltaic panels and solar thermal panels were installed to create renewable solar energy

The scheme exemplifies how installing new systems designed for high energy efficiency can significantly tackle fuel poverty whilst reducing carbon emissions from buildings. It coincides with the council’s make Kirklees carbon neutral by 2038 and ensure the transition to net zero leaves no one behind.

Abbey Road in Fartown

Early estimates show that these green technologies have reduced these properties’ carbon emissions by 50% to 75%, saving tenants between £190 to £350 a year on their energy bills.

The performance of these measures is closely monitored to inform future schemes, and the council will stay in close contact with tenants to understand their cost savings and efficiency of the properties

Clr Cathy Scott, Cabinet member for housing and democracy, said: “I’m delighted that the Homes & Neighbourhoods team’s dedication to deliver this innovative green scheme has been recognised at these national awards.

“We take our commitments to improve council housing and tackle the climate emergency seriously. The choice between heating and eating is a stark choice many of our tenants and residents are having to make, especially with the recent hikes in energy prices.

“The Abbey Road retrofit scheme shows that existing housing can be redesigned to use renewable energy and energy-efficient insulation to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, and significantly reduce tenants’ energy bills.”