The Welsh Government has announced a £9.5 million programme to support the energy efficient and low-carbon retrofit of social housing in Wales.
The Optimised Retrofit Programme (ORP), is part of the Welsh government's larger Innovative Housing Programme, and will fund the installation of energy efficiency measures in up to 1000 existing homes owned by registered social landlords and councils. The programme is also set to reduce energy bills for occupants and provide new job opportunities. An innovation competition will also be launched next month to support the piloting of innovative new solutions for retrofitting welsh housing stock
The programme was launched by the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James. Her statements have made it clear that although the covid-19 pandemic remains prevalent, the focus should continue to remain on reducing greenhouse gases in Wales:
"Housing is responsible for 27% of all energy consumed in Wales and 15% of all demand side greenhouse gas emissions. While we have plans in place to ensure new homes are heated and powered only from clean energy sources, ensuring our existing housing stock is as energy efficient as possible is vital to if we are to meet our ambitious target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 95% by 2050.
This scheme is essential to tackling climate change, and driving down household energy costs now and in the future. Helping people, including those on lower incomes, to reduce their fuel bills while keeping their homes warm."
The detail of how the programme will work is not yet known, however, Elmhurst Energy's Managing Director, Martyn Reed, is encouraged by this announcement: "This is a welcome investment towards improving the energy efficiency of welsh housing stock. Elmhurst continues to advocate for putting the right measures in the right homes and therefore we hope that a 'Whole house approach' is eventually adopted with the involvement of TrustMark approved retrofit professionals."
The Energy Savings Trust have also highlighted some of the statistics provided by Welsh Government and think that similar programmes and support measures should be made available in the owner-occupied and private rented sector. This sentiment is also shared by Elmhurst: "The rate of fuel poverty in social housing in Wales is around 9% compared to 11% for owner-occupied, 20% for the private rented sector, and 12% overall. We recognise that the aim of this scheme is to optimise retrofit processes and use it as a test bed to develop this kind of approach and strengthen the supply chain. However, we would welcome similar support measures being made available to those in the private rented sector and owner occupiers."
Read full press release: https://gov.wales/9-and-half-million-programme-reduce-housing-carbon-footprint