Qualified installers from eight local businesses are about to start work on major energy saving upgrades worth more than £167,000 at 14 homes in Bicester.
It’s part of the Bicester Green Deal project which is kick-starting a new, Government-backed energy saving scheme in the town. The eight firms, all located in or near Cherwell, are among the first in the country to be appointed.
The nationwide Green Deal scheme, launched in January, offers a new way to pay for home improvements that cut power and gas bills. It lets households pay for some or all of these improvements over time through the electricity bill.
But in Bicester the 14 homes selected for upgrades will have their improvements installed for free. In return they have agreed to demonstrate their upgrades to other townspeople. That will happen during an ‘Open House’ event early in June.
These 14 lucky households were chosen by the three organisations running the Bicester Green Deal project – Cherwell District Council, sustainability charity BioRegional and not-for-profit company Green Deal Together.
Cllr Nigel Morris ,the council’s lead member for clean and green, said: “In the current economic climate every penny counts. So it’s great that through this innovative scheme, which sets out to save people money on their bills, we’re also able to give the local economy a boost by employing local businesses to carry out the work.
“With work now set to begin on providing these environmentally-friendly demonstration packages, we hope these will be the first of many installations which will continue to generate financial benefits to local residents and businesses alike.”
Before having a Green Deal installation, households have to have an assessment which recommends ways to make their homes more energy efficient. As part of Bicester Green Deal, 100 homes in the town are receiving free assessments which would usually cost around £100.
So far nearly 80 assessments have been completed, and the 14 homes receiving Green Deal upgrades have been chosen from these. They will receive a combination of energy saving measures including solar PV panels, energy efficient boilers and wall and loft insulation. The eight firms doing the work were chosen through a tendering process.
Plans are also progressing to undertake energy saving improvements at a select number of businesses in the town centre. These will also have the work completed for free and act as energy saving demonstrators for other local businesses.
The Bicester Green Deal project, backed by £282,000 of government funding with Cherwell District Council putting in the same amount, is part of the council’s pioneering Eco Bicester programme. It is hoped this will lead to further local jobs being created in green technologies such as solar panels and wall insulation.
Work on all 14 properties is expected to be completed by the end of May. Then there will be an Open House weekend across 1 and 2 June when members of the public will be able to visit the homes and speak with the householders about their experience. Full details about this event will be released nearer the time.
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The eight businesses who have been appointed to undertake the work are (cost of work in brackets):
Plumbing & Gas Solutions £12,255
Next Generation £44,227
Gas Tech £13,374
Town & Country £20,980
Banbury Windows £11,641
RMD Builders £29,600
Under the Green Deal, repayments should be no more than what a typical household should save in its energy costs as a result of the improvements.
BioRegional is an entrepreneurial charity which establishes sustainable businesses and works with partners around the world to demonstrate that a sustainable future can be easy, attractive and affordable. See www.bioregional.com
Green Deal Together is a community interest company which is being set up by a group of local councils, including Cherwell, to act as an accredited Green Deal Provider using local installers. For more information visit www.greendealtogether.org.uk
For more information on Eco Bicester and the Bicester Green Deal, visit www.ecobicester.org.uk