A pioneering £15.76 million project, which has seen thousands of energy efficient measures installed in homes across some of Yorkshire and Humber's most deprived communities, is being hailed a success following research by the University of Sheffield.
The BIG Energy Upgrade, one of the first schemes of its kind in the country to adopt a whole house and whole community approach to energy saving, has achieved the following since its launch in 2010:
- 2324 measures installed in homes across 14 of Yorkshire and Humber's most deprived communities
- 1,808 houses upgraded with energy efficient measures
- 64 new jobs created
- 119 jobs safeguarded
- CO2 emissions reduced by 53,947 tonnes
Professor Lenny Koh who led the University's study into the success of the scheme, said: "The University's inter and multi- disciplinary team has worked in an integrated way to deliver the whole house/whole community method, which has produced important findings in the live environment.
"The University's achievements in this project will be very influential to key decision makers when considering the design and set up of future energy efficiency projects and investment in the supply chains for innovation and growth."
The scheme, led by Kirklees Council, includes six local authorities, Yorkshire Energy Services, the University of Sheffield and social housing providers.
The Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Rt. Hon. Caroline Flint MP, said: "This project clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of a whole house/whole community approach to installing energy efficiency measures and the positive impact on residents and local employment in some of the most deprived areas of Yorkshire and the Humber.
"Installing external wall insulation in over 1,400 properties and giving energy efficiency advice has proven a huge success. "It is a great example of The European Regional Development Fund benefiting the economy in our most disadvantaged communities and I hope it encourages similar schemes to take place in the future."
The study led by Professor Lenny Koh from the University's Management School highlighted that many residents who took part in the scheme now have an increased sense of pride and admiration for their local communities, which historically they considered to be undesirable neighbourhoods.
The innovative partnerships forged through the scheme worked collectively to regenerate areas of deprivation, create and safeguard jobs and helped boost the regional supply chain. Not only did it fund large scale domestic installations, such as the application of external solid wall insulation, but it also studied the impact home efficiency improvements had on residents.
To mark the scheme's success, BIG Energy Upgrade representatives shared their experiences at a celebration event held in the University's historic Halifax Hall hotel.
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For more information about the BIG Energy Upgrade and its community impacts, visit: www.big-energy-upgrade.com