HUNDREDS of homes in Northumberland have benefited from new home energy solutions thanks to government grant funding awarded to the county council.

A total of 219 insulation and low-carbon energy solutions have been installed in eligible homes up and down the county. The work forms part of Northumberland County Council’s drive to become a carbon-neutral county by 2030, while also helping residents become more energy efficient as well as reducing both their bills and their carbon footprint.

The funding for the project was awarded as part of the Government’s Local Authority Delivery (LAD3) scheme to upgrade eligible homes heated by mains gas. Home Upgrade Grants (HUG) are currently available for eligible homes in the county that do not use mains gas for heating.

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The council was also awarded more than £5.6 million in the Government’s Sustainable Warmth competition, which saw a £500 million investment across 78 projects helping local authorities upgrade energy-efficient homes of low-income households in England.

Government figures show that the North East has the lowest percentage of measures installed through both LAD 3 and HUG. The region accounts for less than 5 per cent of installations across England.

However, in Northumberland energy use has been improved in 107 homes which were previously heated by mains gas. These include 71 loft insulations, 80 solar PV installations, 41 cavity wall insulations, four room-in-roof insulations, nine internal wall insulations, four heating controls, and 10 under-floor insulations, resulting in a marked improvement in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings.

Northumberland County Council leader, and cabinet member for climate change, Glen Sanderson, said: “I am thrilled with the success of this initiative which is positively impacting our residents’ lives and the environment.

“The Council is dedicated to improving energy efficiency in as many buildings as possible across the county as part of our ambitious drive to become a carbon-neutral county. We will continue to support schemes such as this to help make this happen.”

Neil Rochester from Corbridge has had insulation upgrades installed on his property. Mr Rochester said: “Whenever I’m asked about my solar panels, I find myself ending my comments with “It didn’t cost me a penny.”

“But it’s more than that. Under the Warmer Homes scheme other work was done. My cavity wall insulation was replaced, and vent fans were installed in my utility room and bathroom. I’m soon hoping to see a substantial reduction in my utility bills – and it still hasn’t cost me a penny!”

Cllr Nick Oliver, who represents the Corbridge ward, added: “It is through programmes such as this that we see a real difference for our residents. Not only is this helping make our homes in the county more efficient, but it is fostering a commitment to environmental responsibility, and the Council will continue to support our households, where possible, as we work towards a cleaner, low-carbon future.”

While the LAD 3 scheme, which was for homes that have mains gas heating, has now ended, applications are still open for the HUG scheme. If your home does not have a mains gas connection, or you only have a gas cooker and another energy source for heating you may be eligible to apply for energy-saving improvements to your home.

This may include:

  • Floor, loft and wall insulation (internal or external)
  • Low carbon heat systems, such as air source heat pumps and heating controls
  • Solar panels