Major energy efficiency home improvements scheme gathers pace

Gateshead-based contractor Tolent is working to improve the energy efficiency of homes across County Durham after being awarded a £5m contract.

Working on behalf of Durham County Council, the contractor is currently retrofitting properties in the Chilton area of the county and will go on to complete sustainability improvements at more than 500 homes.

It is part of a wider scheme to enhance the energy efficiency of 1,000 homes, which is being overseen by the council and largely funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Work completed so far includes; PV panels installed to 25 homes, external low carbon wall insulation to 20 homes and air source heat pumps added to 65 homes.

Some homes will also benefit from new double-glazed windows as works continue over the coming months.

Earlier this month, Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility, visited homes in Chilton and met some of the first residents to benefit from the scheme.

Improving the energy performance of existing housing stock is vital in helping the UK Government achieve net zero carbon by 2050 and undoubtedly improves the health and wellbeing of those living in better, more efficient homes.

“This is a really key area of work for us,” said Tolent regional director, Chris Price.

“Our teams have the experience and expertise to carry out retrofit works very effectively and we understand the pressures and concerns of both the residents living in these homes and the local authorities and registered housing providers who are tasked with looking at this challenge.

“Our experience will help both our clients and their tenants meet the needs of the government’s climate challenge agenda and eliminate fuel poverty.”

Councillor James Rowlandson, Cabinet member for resources, investments and assets at Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted with how this project is progressing, but this is only the start. Work will continue throughout the summer to deliver energy and carbon saving improvements to hundreds of fuel poor homes in County Durham.

“Good quality, energy efficient homes will help to ensure the vibrancy of our communities for years to come, while also cutting carbon emissions and saving residents money off their gas and electricity bills.”

Including work completed last year and secured into 2023, Tolent is set to deliver around 3,000 new homes covering both the private and public sector across the North East and Yorkshire regions.