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Cabinet agrees to new zero carbon council houses and energy efficient improvements

It forms part of our commitment to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030

Published 3 November 2020
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Wiltshire Council's Cabinet has today (Tuesday 3 November) agreed to significantly invest in zero carbon homes for its council house new build programme, and also improve the energy efficiency of its existing council homes.

This investment will help the council respond to the climate emergency, as part of its commitment to lead the way to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030, and also ensure that council homes are cheaper to run, bringing these savings directly to residents.

The new council house build programme will see around £195m invested into building new, energy efficient council homes up to 2032. The council is initially running a pilot scheme, and if successful, all new properties that are built by the council (not including those purchased from developers) will be constructed to 'zero carbon' standards, which features very high levels of insulation, generation of electricity, and triple glazing, among other environmental benefits. These properties enjoy very low energy bills for residents, offset by the properties' energy generation.

The council will also invest £289m until 2032 on improving existing council housing properties to ensure they achieve a minimum energy performance rating of B. To achieve this energy performance rating, existing council properties will receive the highest levels of loft and wall insulation, and will be fitted with A++ rated windows. Heating and hot water will be sourced from non-fossil fuels, combined with the installation of efficient unvented hot water cylinders. The council will also consider other technologies to enhance these improvements and further reduce customers' energy bills, such as solar panels on roofs and battery storage, depending on the property.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "This decision puts energy efficiency at the heart of our council housing investment plans, both in terms of our new builds and our existing housing stock.

"These changes will not only help us lead the way in seeking to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030, but will also deliver significant financial savings of up to £600 a year for our council house residents.

"We can now look forward to the improvements to existing housing stock beginning in April 2021, and we're also planning to pilot the building of 20 new zero carbon affordable homes across three sites in the near future."

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