An installer fitting a new efficient boiler into the kitchen of an elderly lady.

Winner of the Ashden Award for Sustainable Homes, Cosy Homes in Lancashire (or CHIL for short) is a partnership between 14 local authorities in Lancashire which is tackling fuel poverty and improving the energy efficiency of some of the oldest properties in the most deprived parts of the county.  The initiative has installed efficient gas and biomass boilers, insulation for solid walls, cavity walls and lofts, and provided advice on reducing energy use and switching tariffs.

Here’s what one of the recent beneficiaries of the scheme living in Preston had to say about the service:

“I live alone and have lived with no hot water and only a gas fire to heat the whole house for over 12 years.  I am sure living in freezing conditions contributed to my vitiligo and eczema – this is a long term condition and probably for life.  I have also acquired tinnitus.

I found out about the scheme with a leaflet posted through my letter box.  From applying to installation took a few months; fitting just took one day.  Cavity wall insulation was installed and this has made a massive difference to heat retention and the gable end which was always damp is now dry.

Since I have had heat I keep the whole house at 20 C.  My vitiligo has started to fill in, and I no longer have a chest infection in winter which takes six months to clear.  

My mental state has changed which is a surprise.  I had formed an addiction to gambling which has since fallen away.  I would like to thank you [CHIL] for making my later years potentially comfortable.”

Cosy Homes in Lancashire was created when the county’s Public Health directors recognised the effect of cold homes on people’s health so it’s terrific to hear first-hand how straightforward energy efficiency improvements are helping vulnerable residents to stay both warm and healthy.