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Home Scheme To Cut Bills and Carbon Is Still Available

18 January 2022

A graphic of a house, with energy efficiency ratings alongside it from A (very efficient) to G (very inefficient)

A £900,000 scheme to reduce home energy consumption in the South Hams is underway. The first installations of measures including air source heating systems and external insulation are now being carried out through South Hams District Council's Green Home Grant.

Further funding to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their home is still available, however time is limited and funding is likely to stop in April.  

90 eligible homeowners across the District are having the energy- and money-saving work carried out over the next few months. Insulation, such as solid/single wall external insulation, is one of the measures being installed as well as fitting air source heat pump central heating systems (a kind of renewable energy technology that takes the warmth from the air outside, even when it's freezing and uses it to heat the home). As well as being better for the planet, it's estimated that using an air source heat pump could cut as much as £900 a year from energy bills. External wall insulation also brings significant energy bill savings, up to an estimated £415 a year. 

The cost of the eco-friendly work is fully-covered after the Council obtained funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). To make it easier for local people to access the money and reduce their carbon footprint, the team at the Council has taken control to oversee the whole process, from the initial application to connecting homeowners with contractors.  As well as letting people know about the grant in the media and on social media, the Council team also wrote to everyone living in suitable properties with an EPC rating of E or below. 

Cllr Jonathan Hawkins, South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Leisure Health and Wellbeing said:

"We're committed to doing everything we can to help our residents to reduce their carbon footprint and save money while staying warm. We know that not everyone enjoys filling out forms and we were concerned that local people could miss out on this great opportunity. That's why we decided we would take the lead and take steps to make sure the maximum number of local people can benefit from this scheme." 

How do air source heating systems work?

Air source heat pumps use the same type of technology that keeps your fridge cold. A liquid refrigerant that has a very low boiling point is pumped on a loop between two heat exchangers. This refrigerant takes on heat energy from the outside ambient air temperature and turns into a gas as it warms up. This gas is then compressed back into a liquid, which increases its temperature further. The warm refrigerant then goes through a heat exchanger, which transfers the warmth to a separate body of water for circulating round the central heating system. During the final stage the liquid refrigerant goes through an expansion valve reducing the pressure and temperature and the cycle repeats. As heat pumps transfer heat rather than produce it, their efficiency can be greater than 300%. 

Who is eligible for the grant?

To be eligible for the Green Homes Grant, you must meet the criteria below:

  • Owner Occupier (sorry; this scheme is not open to housing association tenants)
  • EPC of E or below (please speak to us if you do not know or not have one)
  • Be on either means tested benefit or a net household income of less £30,000 a year (this is after household expenses such as mortgage, Council tax, utility bills)

Further funding to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their home is still available, however time is limited and funding will stop in April.  If you think you may be eligible for a grant and are interested in finding out more, please contact eco@swdevon.gov.uk. You can also complete the webform at www.southhams.gov.uk/ReduceFuelBills or call 01803 641234.
 

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