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Major Investment In ‘Hard To Heat’ Cardiff Homes

Credit: Cardiff Council

Around 250 ‘hard to heat’ homes in Cardiff are set to benefit from a multi-million pound investment scheme to improve their thermal efficiency and help reduce energy costs for residents.

More than £7m has been earmarked for the scheme that will see improvements carried out on council and privately-owned British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF) homes in Llandaff North and Rumney.

The energy efficiency retrofit scheme will involve external wall insulation being installed on up to 252 steel-framed, non-traditional build type homes in these areas, helping to make the homes more thermally efficient.

The Council has already invested in improvements to BISF homes, classed as ‘hard to heat’, in Caerau where a similar retrofit scheme helped lift residents out of fuel poverty and increased the energy performance of the properties.

The latest scheme, covering 100 homes in the council’s own stock and up to 152 privately-owned properties, would see an estimated £7m spent on upgrading the homes with external wall insulation consisting of a non-combustible mineral wool system, and a further £400,000 on insulating the ceilings of the private tenure homes.

The Council will pay for the improvements to its own stock from the Housing Revenue Account while there is grant funding from Welsh Government for work on the private homes.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “We’ve been working for a number of years to find a funding solution to improve not only our own BISF homes, but the private homes as well and as someone who grew up in a BISF home myself, I’m delighted that we are now in a position to move this scheme forward.

“It’s great news for the residents living in these homes in Rumney and Llandaff North. Now more than ever, we are all so aware of the rising costs of heating our homes and these homes in particular are costly in terms of fuel bills.”

As well as helping to tackle fuel poverty, the retrofit improvements also support the Council’s efforts towards becoming carbon neutral, part of the Stronger Fairer Greener vision.  One Planet Cardiff, the Council’s climate change strategy, identifies that housing is a significant contributor to the city’s carbon emissions, and includes a commitment to facilitate the improvement of the energy performance of all tenures of the city’s housing.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Cllr Caro Wild, said: “With gas used to heat the majority of homes in Cardiff, 29% of the city’s carbon emissions come from domestic properties. Upgrading insulation is still the simplest and most effective way of reducing the amount of energy it takes to stay warm at home, making it a win for residents’ pockets, and for the planet.”

In addition to retrofitting existing stock, the Council’s new house building programme is delivering good quality, low-carbon, highly-sustainable council homes across the city to meet high demand for affordable housing.

At its next meeting on Thursday, March 23, Cabinet is recommended to approve the commissioning strategy and proposed procurement models and arrangements for the energy efficiency retrofit scheme and to delegate authority to the Director of Adults, Housing & Communities to deal with all aspects of the procurement relating to the scheme.