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Energy boost for hundreds of city homes

Warmer homes and lower fuel bills are on the way for more than 260 households in Stoke-on-Trent – the latest to benefit from a multi-million pound energy-saving initiative involving the city council, EDF Energy and Kier Stoke.

Some 208 city council and 55 privately-owned properties in Townsend and Chell Heath are due to be fitted with external wall insulation by the winter.

The cost of the work, approaching £10,000 per property, will be paid for by EDF Energy as part of their commitment to the Government’s Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). The scheme aims to reduce CO2 emissions from homes in areas regarded as most needing such support.

The EDF Energy work will focus on British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF) houses built 60 years ago, and will be carried out by the city council’s repair and maintenance partner Kier Stoke. The homes will benefit from external wall insulation manufactured by Wetherby Building Systems Ltd.

The buildings’ steel-framed, pre-fabricated construction performs poorly at keeping heat in and the cold out, and can cause problems linked to condensation in external walls.

It’s estimated that external wall insulation reduces a home’s annual CO2 output by two tonnes, and cuts around £450 off fuel bills (source: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk).

The home of Karen Bowen (49) and her husband Lol (57), in Theodore Road, Bucknall, is one of the first to have benefited from the work. They’ve lived in the property for 23 years, and raised their three children there.

“It’s made a massive difference – we’re so pleased with the work,” said Karen. “It used to be cold inside, even with the heating on, but it started to feel warmer as soon as the insulation packs went on. And from the outside it looks like a brand new home!

“We’ve gone from having miserable, dark steel panels on the outside walls to something that’s so much brighter and lighter to look at – the new colours remind me of the seaside and a lovely, sandy beach.”

Stoke-on-Trent city councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “The external cladding will help to minimise wall condensation problems, boost the properties’ energy performance and really improve their external appearance. These family homes are very popular with tenants and owners, and they’ll see the benefits for years to come.

“The city council wants to do everything it can to improve homes’ energy efficiency, reduce Stoke-on-Trent’s carbon footprint, and help as many people as possible avoid fuel poverty and cold-related health issues. This scheme will make a big contribution in all of those areas.”

Angus Wilby, Head of Energy Services at EDF Energy, said: “These improvements will make a significant difference to the lives of the local residents who will be able to benefit from lower fuel bills and much warmer homes.

“Sustainability is at the core of EDF Energy, and it is through schemes such as CESP that we can provide great energy saving measures to those who need them most.”

The BISF properties will also be fitted with new front door canopies. The city council will pay for these on its properties involved, while owner occupiers will pay for theirs themselves.

A total of 800 Stoke-on-Trent properties will benefit from CESP improvements by December. Two other energy suppliers will fund the work alongside EDF Energy – costing around £8m in total.

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