Hundreds more households will enjoy cheaper energy bills thanks to green upgrades after Leeds City Council secured £16.8 million to progress its plans to deliver climate-friendly housing across the city.
The funding will enable the council to kick-start the delivery of its new Net Zero Homes Plan, which sets out actions the local authority will take to install low carbon heating and tackle heat loss from Leeds’ residential buildings.
Last week, senior councillors approved the document, which sets out blueprints for how the council can work with the private sector, community groups, and government to enable every Leeds household to access property improvements that make homes healthier, more environmentally friendly, and cheaper to live in.
Studies have shown that British homes are among the least energy efficient in Europe, making them harder to keep at a comfortable temperature and more expensive to heat or cool.
One-in-six (17.6%) Leeds households were classed as living in fuel poverty in 2020, officially defined as living in a relatively inefficient home and having an income below the poverty line once energy bills are paid for.
Better insulating Leeds’ buildings to tackle heat loss – alongside other measures to improve energy efficiency – will help to reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions simultaneously.
Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate, says, “The Net Zero Homes plan is our blueprint to help end Leeds’ contribution to climate change by making our homes better. Meaning they are more affordable, healthier, greener, and more comfortable to live in.
“From Holbeck to Holt Park, high-rise to homeowner, our actions have shown that helping Leeds’ households save money and energy has long been a priority for this council.
“I am proud that this ambitious new plan goes further and thinks bigger – setting out how the council can work with partners locally, regionally, and nationally to help every household in Leeds enjoy the benefits of living in a climate-friendly home.”
New advice service and innovative financing offer for green home upgrades
A key commitment within the Net Zero Homes Plan is to establish a simple one-stop-shop hub with council partners for homeowners and landlords to get trusted, tailored advice on the benefits of installing different green upgrades.
As well as educating residents, the service will also be able to recommend trusted contractors and will eventually offer property-linked finance options from private sector partners.
Development of the new service will be accelerated thanks to a range of grants recently secured by the council, including £100,000 from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, to support customer engagement and product research, as well as £50,000 from the MCS Charitable Foundation to create additional capacity within the council.
As part of its Net Zero Homes Plan, the council will continue building the case for additional funding to support Leeds’ homeowners that are least able to afford money-saving green upgrades.
The council has now secured up to £15.5 million to deliver a new scheme to upgrade properties not connected to the gas grid.
Eligible residents will be able to apply for free installations of insulation products, solar panels, or low carbon heating technologies. Landlords of eligible properties will also be able to apply for heavily subsidised installations of the same improvements.