Image: Gentoo

Fatfield homes set for eco-friendly overhaul in new retrofit scheme

A PIONEERING retrofit plan has been revealed for Washington as a number of homes are set to receive an energy-efficient overhaul.

As part of a partnership between Sunderland City Council and Engie, nearly 50 homes in the Fatfield area will pilot The Rise Project, a plan which aims to ‘decentralise, digitalise and decarbonise homes.’

The project is being part-funded with more than £900,000 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator (SHDF Demonstrator) programme.

A £50 million scheme announced in July 2020 to retrofit social housing at scale, the SHDF will allow 46 homes in the town to undergo a range of improvements with hopes to decrease their carbon footprint.

The initial crop of Fatfield homes will be taken off an existing district heating network and fitted with energy-efficient and renewable measures, including infra-red radiant heating technology, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, Sunamp battery storage and smart technology, along with the installation of external wall insulation.

“We’re delighted to be working shoulder to shoulder with Gentoo to take this important step to improve existing housing stock and make properties in the city greener,” said Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, Sunderland City Council cabinet member for Dynamic City.

“Our Low Carbon Framework sets out an ambitious plan to deliver a carbon neutral Sunderland by 2040, and it is through programmes and partnership-working like this that we can decarbonise the city, and help enable residents to live more sustainably, to ensure we all play our part in a greener future. 

“We’re working to deliver more sustainable new communities across Sunderland, but existing homes are a huge contributing factor to the city’s carbon footprint, and retrofit projects like this will be critical to driving down emissions and ensuring the built environment supports our low carbon goals.  We’re delighted to have the opportunity to demonstrate this through this programme.”

Gentoo CEO Nigel Wilson added: “Gentoo is fully committed to supporting the carbon reduction targets set out by the Government and partners across Sunderland and I am delighted we have secured important grant funding that will enable The Rise Project to be delivered.

“The project will allow us to improve existing homes to ensure they are fit for the future, but more importantly, allow us to ensure the homes are more comfortable and warmer to live in for our tenants.”

Bosses at The Rise Project hope it will pave the way for further retrofit programmes in homes across the city, supporting Sunderland’s Low Carbon Framework that aims to reduce emissions and seeks to make the city carbon neutral by 2040, with Sunderland City Council itself aiming to be a carbon neutral local authority by 2030.