Oxford has 12 areas that are among the 20% most deprived in England, one of which is Barton (OX3) to the east of the city (Oxford City Council, March 2013). Low Carbon Hub partnered with Oxford City Council to run a pilot scheme in Barton to improve the energy efficiency of homes in Barton, helping to reduce bills and address fuel poverty in the area.
The Warming Barton project was run to tie in with funding which was available under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), requiring the big six energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of UK households, especially those with low incomes and/or hard-to-treat homes.
The scheme had a very positive reception from householders in Barton, and within just two weeks 108 households had signed up for the free energy assessments. A total of 119 assessments were delivered throughout the project and, with local domestic energy assessors skilled up as Green Deal Assessors following the launch of the Green Deal, 61 of these include full Green Deal Advice Reports (an Energy Performance Certificate and Occupancy Assessment). The result was a grand total of 579 recommended actions, 206 tonnes of potential CO₂ annual savings and the possibility for each household to save an average of £450 each on their bills.
The next stage was to install external wall insulation on 16 pilot homes, part-funded by ECO with top-up funding from the Low Carbon Hub and Oxford City Council to ensure the project was completed. These homes were insulated by Green Deal-accredited delivery partner, Insulation North East (INE), an experienced provider of insulation services. The insulated homes are now warmer, more efficient and have increased approximately £30,000 in value.
The evening after the insulation had been put up the house was noticeably warmer. The boiler doesn’t seem to be working as hard as it did before to keep the house warm and we can sit in our lounge without a blanket over us!JOHN CAVENDISHBarton resident
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Thanks to a grant from Westmill Solar Co-operative, we are able to offer fully-funded energy audits for community buildings – the first step to reducing the building’s energy use and increasing energy efficiency.