Priority 3: Improve the energy efficiency of homes across the district

Energy use in homes is the second biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in our district. While major strides are being taken to decarbonise electricity production nationally by 2030, gas is likely to remain carbon intensive and a significant source of heating for homes for a while longer.

The way people heat their homes will therefore need to change in order to achieve our ambition of a carbon neutral district by 2050 at the very latest. While alternatives to gas boilers do exist, they are currently expensive and not suitable for every home. Therefore, in the early years of our plan, the focus will need to be on encouraging people to install insulation and other energy efficiency measures.

There are currently more than 16,000 homes across the district that are rated below a C by their Energy Performance Certificate. By carrying out the recommendations made by the energy assessment (solid wall insulation, under floor insulation etc) it should be possible to bring over 11,300 of them up to a C rating. This would save approx. 39,000 tonnes of carbon emissions as well as saving money for householders.

External funding for these schemes is available, such as the ECO deal for those claiming certain benefits and which relies on money provided by the main energy providers. We already work with Act on Energy to promote these schemes and will continue to do so in future. However, to carry out a full retrofit project would require fresh government funding as the cost is likely to run into several million pounds.

Our efforts would be best focused on helping the 18.4% of properties that are not on the central gas network and which rely on heating oil. Supporting homes to switch to biofuel or other lower carbon fuel sources would be inexpensive for the consumer and save approx. 30,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

We also need to create the right environment for investment in renewable energy developments by using our role as a planning authority and influencing Western Power Distribution to resolve local capacity issues on the grid.