Thirty tower blocks in Solihull are now warmer and more energy efficient following a £25 million scheme by British Gas and Solihull Community Housing. The two-year scheme has transformed homes by fitting solid wall insulation to 30 high-rise buildings.
This insulation reduces the amount of heat escaping through the walls, keeping people’s homes warmer for longer. 23 of these tower blocks have also been connected to 12 new biomass district heating systems heating over 1,100 homes. These provide a greener and more efficient way to heat the homes. Also around a thousand windows have been replaced with double glazing to keep the heat in people’s homes and to make it quieter for them too.
The scheme has supported the wider regeneration in the Chelmsley Wood area. The insulation has given the buildings a modern appearance and communal areas have been repainted to create a fresh look. Landscaping, with new flowers and plants, have also improved the spaces around the highrise buildings. This has helped to make the area a more desirable place to live, leading to reductions in resident turn-over rate with requests to move into the area increasing. As a result residents are now taking more pride in their community with suggestions that local crime rates have already reduced. Alongside these a number of other social wide benefits are becoming evident.
The insulation allows the properties to dry out, reducing damp problems in the flats, providing improved health conditions. The new district heating schemes have seen significant improvements to the control of the tenants’ heating and the comfort benefits that this brings. Combining insulation and district heating has led to large reductions on the cost of energy to the tenants, who are predominantly in fuel poverty.