Council homes will get upgrades to make them more energy efficient and cut residents’ bills.
Around 60 of York’s 7,500 council homes will get extra energy efficiency measures installed – which could include internal or external cladding, boiler upgrades and air source heat pumps.
City of York Council will put £1 million towards bringing council homes up to a higher energy performance rating next summer – which will cut residents’ heating bills.
A third of York’s carbon emissions come from energy used in homes and the council hopes to lead the way in cutting CO2 emissions. The council committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Michael Jones, the council’s assistant director of housing, said: “The vast majority of the homes people will be living in in 2030 are already built.”
About a third of York’s council homes are rated at Energy Performance Certificate D to F – below the government’s recommended standard of grade C.
And Mr Jones said on average council housing has better energy standards than private homes in the city.
But it would cost about £37 million to bring all of York’s council homes up to the recommended energy efficiency standard – making it a major challenge for the authority.
Housing bosses are looking for “innovative” approaches to help fund the retrofitting of energy efficient measures as it is unlikely there will be enough public money to upgrade all council homes.
And there is not an abundance of expertise in the field.
Tracey Carter from the council said upgrades such as double glazing and insulation have already taken place in many homes and the new upgrades will include more complicated improvements – which will be tailored to each different home.
She admitted there is not likely to be enough government funding to upgrade all of the city’s council houses.
But making a start on upgrading homes puts York in a better position to bid for future funding because it shows the council has experience of carrying out the work. It could lead to more companies offering retrofitting services – and help reduce costs in future.
York building firms could be encouraged to train staff in the new skills needed to retrofit homes and the local authority hopes its own retrofitting programme will help create new jobs in the city, as part of an economic growth plan.
Cllr Denise Craghill, housing portfolio holder, said: “By getting a project underway, we can start to create that local demand and create those jobs.”
Shaun Gibbons, head of climate change at the council, said residents do not often need to move out for the work to take place and the programme will take place in consultation with tenants.
A further £250,000 a year for the next four years will be put towards retrofitting homes.
The programme will be discussed at a council meeting on Tuesday.