A Labour-led Council pilot housing scheme in Swansea which is helping to lower the city’s carbon footprint has been praised by the Welsh Government Housing Minister.
Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government, has visited the properties in the Swansea community near Clydach to formally launch a £9.5 million Wales-wide housing improvement scheme – Optimised Retrofit Programme (ORP) and forms part of the WG Innovative Housing Programme.
The Labour Council recently completed its retrofit project in Craig Cefn Parc in partnership with Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture where solar panels, battery storage and ground source heating have been retrofitted to six council-owned bungalows.
The new WG programme (ORP) will see 1,000 more homes, registered with social housing landlords or Welsh councils, fitted with similar equipment and assist in tackling fuel poverty and contribute to decarbonisation.
Labour Cllr Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, welcomed the launch of the new national programme.
She said: “We’re thrilled the Housing Minister has visited our completed scheme in Swansea and is able to see the benefits for tenants that new innovative technologies can bring to existing homes.
“Tenants living in these homes have previously had to contend with expensive energy bills due to the absence of a gas supply. The introduction of the new technology in these homes now means our tenants are benefitting from very low energy bills and the homes are also helping to reduce our overall carbon footprint in Swansea.
“The announcement of the new ORP scheme means this type of housing development can continue across Wales and we look forward to working with the WG to roll out more of this technology to council homes in the city.”
Announcing the latest plans, Ms James said: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of a warm, secure and affordable home like never before. It has also shown the positive effects of reducing greenhouse gasses.
“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.
“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.
“We’ve chosen to launch the programme in Swansea after seeing the Council do such a great job in retrofitting similar innovative equipment to their existing housing stock.
“I’ve met one of the tenants who is clearly delighted with the installation and their wellbeing has been improved by living in a beautiful home with very low energy costs.”