Hard-to-treat results prove "invaluable"

More than a dozen hard-to-treat Somerset homes insulated

5 September 2012

After officially ending earlier this year, the last installation has now been completed and the final payment made on the successful Somerset West Hard to Treat pilot scheme.

Running between October 2010 and March 2012, the pilot was intended to fund improvements to old and cold rural properties in the local authority areas of Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset, and funded by the three councils.

The scheme offered owner-occupiers a grant on a first come, first served basis to cover the cost of 25% of eligible insulation works, up to a maximum of £2,500 per property. Low income households were able to apply for a low cost Home Improvement Loan for the remaining 75% of costs.

In that period, a range of measures were installed at a total of 17 hard-to-treat properties across these districts, with several households receiving more than one measure. Of these 17 installations, only two customers claimed the full grant amount of £2,500 for their property.

Installed insulation measures include:

  • 8 homes externally insulated
  • 5 homes internally insulated
  • 7 instances of complex loft insulation
  • 1 instance of flat roof insulation
  • 3 floors insulated

You can read a report of the project, written by CSE for the funders, here.

Mike McClelland managed the pilot for CSE. He said: "The Somerset West pilot has proved invaluable in helping us to better understand the complexities of insulation works in hard-to-treat homes. The area itself is an ideal test-bed for a scheme of this kind due to the makeup of properties, having a large proportion of rural, off-gas and solid walled housing.

"It enabled us to test various aspects of retrofit projects, including helping to develop and test the local SME installer market, allowing customers a choice in the contractors they used to carry out the work, which has proven to be an important factor.

"The scheme itself has demonstrated that there is an appetite locally to improve the energy efficiency of homes, and that a key driver for many people is the opportunity to make their homes warmer and cheaper to run."

The Somerset West Hard to Treat pilot scheme proved so successful, it led to the launch of Somerset West Home Energy, a much larger pilot scheme aimed at better understanding and testing approaches to the Green deal and ECO.

Running alongside the Somerset West Hard-to-Treat scheme was the West Somerset Heating Controls scheme, which is currently still running in the area of, and funded by, West Somerset District Council. This scheme offers cash back to residents upgrading their heating controls.

Over the six months the scheme has so far run, it has seen the installation of almost 100 heating controls, including 86 thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), two room thermostats, three central heating programmers and three programmable room thermostats. Work so far totalled almost £2,000. 

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