Energy efficiency doesn’t come for nothing. Someone has to pay, at least at the outset. In Huddersfield, Kirklees Council took the decision to make a significant financial contribution, so that all its residents could benefit. Its Kirklees Warm Zone was a calculated effort to support its residents and to deliver real energy efficiency across the borough as part of its commitment to meet national targets.
Their scheme focused on cavity and wall insulation, two of the simplest energy and carbon reduction measures. Some residents qualified for free support through existing schemes but many did not. The Council decided to provide upfront funding while also working with energy providers and other partners to complement that funding.
The scheme was area-based, working in one or two wards at a time, carefully winning hearts and minds in the communities. The area-based approach also delivered a more efficient roll-out. By November 2010, all 172,000 households in the borough had been visited, 134,000 assessed, 111,000 refereed for surveys and over 50,000 insulated at a cost of £234 per household.
Payback is measurable. An average saving of £200 per year for each household, 40,000 tons tonnes/year CO2 saved, 103 new jobs created. If we are to meet to carbon-reduction targets we have to invest and we have to convince. Kirklees have successfully done both.