Hundreds more warmer homes spearhead £70m Bernicia investment

Work is ready to start to make hundreds of homes warmer and more energy efficient as part of a £70m Bernicia investment in its homes and communities.

Retrofit work will begin in July with Bernicia and the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund investing £7m into upgrading 865 properties most in need of energy efficiency upgrading.

Bernicia is committed to pumping £70m into wider major improvement works in its homes and communities by 2026.

Bernicia is delighted to be part of a consortium led by the North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub that successfully attracted funding from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 2.1 to deliver a £80 million retrofit project across the North East and Yorkshire.

5,525 families across the North East and Yorkshire will benefit from energy efficiency upgrades to their homes thanks to Government backing for an ambitious housing retrofit scheme.

This is made possible by a £32.4 million grant from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and £48.2 million from consortium partners, including £3.6m from Bernicia, to deliver the £80.6 million scheme to 5,525 homes.

The North East & Yorkshire Net Zero Hub led the bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 2.1, which aims to raise the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of social homes to a minimum of Band C.

A range of work will be carried out to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of properties across the region through a worst-first, fabric-first approach using measures such as external wall, loft, cavity wall, and underfloor insulation. Some properties will also receive renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels or air source heat pumps, moving away from reliance on fossil fuels to power and heat these buildings.

They will help to reduce the number of people in fuel poverty and improve their comfort and health, while driving down CO2 emissions and supporting the green economy and jobs.

David Pye, Bernicia Director Assets and Property, said: “This is great news for our tenants. It builds upon our continued investment in measures which improve the energy and environmental performance of our tenants’ homes, helping to keep them warmer while cutting their energy bills.

“In total, Bernicia and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will be investing £7m into 865 Bernicia properties over the next two years, homes we have identified as most in need of energy efficiency upgrades.

“This improvement work will be targeted to meet the specific needs of each home, with measures including improvements to the fabric of the home, air source heat pumps, solar panels and insulation.

“Completing this work will be hugely beneficial to tenants and ensure we remain on course to meet our target of achieving SAP C rating in over 90% of our homes by 2025-26.”

North East and Yorkshire Energy Hub Manager Karen Oliver-Spry said: “The success of this bid is great news for households in the area and builds on the achievements of the Hub’s LAD2 Green Home Grant scheme delivery in tackling poor energy performance in housing. This successful bid is one of several in the North East and Yorkshire, helped by Hub-funded support.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said: “This investment will help thousands of households to heat their homes for less, keep them warm for longer and could save hundreds on their annual energy bill.

“The green energy sector is growing, and this funding will support green jobs and provide the training needed to deliver these vital upgrades to homes.”

The North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub made the bid on behalf of a consortium made up of Arches Housing Ltd, Assist Sheffield, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Believe Housing, Bernicia, Beyond Housing, Broadacres, Darlington Borough Council, Doncaster Council, Great Places, Hartlepool Borough Council, Humankind, Karbon, Livin, Northstar, Railway Housing, Sheffield council , South Tyneside Homes  and Thirteen Group. The bid was supported by Tees Valley Combined Authority, the accountable body for the Net Zero Hub.