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Gold Award for Warmer Home Scheme

Tim Ashby15th July 2014

Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council in partnership with Watford Community Housing Trust have won Gold at the prestigious Green Apple Awards.  The award is for a groundbreaking project to install external wall insulation across 118 homes on the Boundary Way estate, providing residents with major fuel savings and creating much warmer and healthier homes.  

Built in the 1960s, the Boundary Way estate was constructed using un-insulated concrete which meant houses were too cold in winter and too warm in summer. This meant a high degree of fuel poverty and independent evaluation showed around half of households had someone suffering from a cold-related health condition. 

green-apple-presentation.jpgThe £1.4 million scheme was funded following a successful application for a DECC Fuel Poverty grant, as well as ECO and partner funding. As a result, every home could be insulated free of charge regardless of income or tenure.

Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill MBE Said:

“We are delighted to have won a Green Apple Award, it is international recognition of a project which will deliver major improvements to our housing and to people’s lives.  

“With mixed ownership and a council boundary split this could have been a very challenging project to deliver, instead it is a great example of collaborative working and effective community consultation.”

Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Three Rivers Lead Member for Sustainability, and Ward member for Leavesden said:

"I am delighted with the benefit this has brought residents in the area. This has improved the visual outlook of the estate and is saving residents money. The aim now will be to work with others and THRIVE to get the rest of the Estate done"

The insulation panels were fitted over the existing walls.  They were then rendered and brick slips fitted to the lower levels.  Residents were invited to choose paint and brick slip colours for each of the housing blocks.  As a result the appearance of the estate has been significantly improved.

A technical evaluation by National Energy Action reported that following the installation of external wall insulation:

  • 100 per cent of homes questioned felt that they could now be heated to a comfortable level – a rise of around 60 per cent.
  • Households should expect to save approximately £598 on their heating bills – a reduction of 44 per cent.
  • Energy performance ratings of the sampled properties were dramatically improved.  The number of C-rated properties doubled and all of the E-rated or below were completely eliminated (Where an EPC rated ‘A’ property is more energy efficient than a ‘G’).  The project estimates to save 220 tonnes of carbon annually.
  • Homes retained heat better in the winter and residents reported feeling cooler in the summer.

As part of the project, renovations were carried out across the estate for the first time since it was built; these include the installation of new LED fittings and daylight sensors to reduce energy consumption and improve brightness and safety.