Council to convert eight homes to low energy – at a cost of £68K each

City of York Council West Offices. Photograph: YorkMix

Eight council houses are to be adapted to meet the highest green energy efficiency standards – at a cost of more than £68,000 per home.

City of York Council is to spend £550,000 on retrofitting up to eight of its properties to meet ultra-low energy guidelines – known as ENerPhit standard.

The council owns about 7,544 homes.

It means the eight households would save 1.9 tonnes of CO2 per year and £440 on energy bill savings. The work would take six months, with residents moving out for two to three weeks of that.

A further 30 council houses will be brought up to a less strict energy efficiency standard – at a cost of £15,000 per home – saving each household £260 a year on fuel bills and 1.1 tonnes of CO2 emissions. In total, the plans will save 48.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

‘Frankly amazed’

Cllr Michael Pavlovic

But Labour councillor Michael Pavlovic criticised the scheme – saying the money could be spent on bringing 60 homes up to the less strict energy efficiency standard which would cut bills and improve housing for more people. It would also save 66 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

He said: “I’m both disappointed and frankly amazed that you’re considering an option that is £100,000 more expensive, reduces CO2 by significantly less, reaches fewer people and saves less money on fuel bills.

“I cannot understand the rationale for this.”

But Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing, said the trial would give the council a roadmap for how best to retrofit homes to meet strict energy standards and put the local authority in a better position to bid for government money to do the work on its other homes.

She said: “We are aiming high in our desire to learn how to bring older properties to very high levels of thermal efficiency.

“This is a tremendous challenge we are facing – climate change is still the biggest emergency as we head out of Covid-19.

“It will make substantial energy savings for households that participate and make their homes more comfortable.”

Cllr Paula Widdowson, executive member for climate change, added: “I do have a lot of sympathy – the point Cllr Pavlovic made is extremely valid. Hopefully this gives us the best of both worlds.”

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