Freedom from Fuel Poverty

Solid-wall insulation and renewable energy for people in fuel poverty

Project duration: September 2009 to December 2010

For years, loft and cavity wall insulation has been the mainstay of local and national schemes to help improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills. Hundreds of thousands of households across the country have been helped in this way, with CSE at the forefront of much of this work in Bristol and Somerset.

However there are many other older homes – built without cavity walls – which require different measures to achieve improved energy performance standards. The UK won’t meet its tough carbon reduction targets without addressing these properties, yet there is currently very little on offer to help the owners and tenants of these ‘hard-to-treat’ buildings.

In particular need are those living in solid-walled properties suffering from fuel poverty. In many cases these are elderly people on low, fixed incomes who simply cannot afford to heat even modestly-sized homes adequately.

CSE's ‘Freedom from Fuel Poverty’ project may go some way to help. This scheme, funded by Bath & North East Somerset Council, focused on providing free solid wall insulation, solar hot water or solar photovoltaic systems to people living in fuel poverty.

Projects like this are far from common, and we belive that much of what has been learned can be replicated elsewhere.

A report assessing the learnings from this project can be downloaded here (9mb).

Bath and its surrounding towns and villages have a particularly high proportion of hard-to-treat solid-walled properties which aren’t currently suitable for mainstream insulation schemes. However the nature of many of these homes means that the owners are often the most in need of help.

Solid wall properties were mainly built prior to the 1920’s and have no cavity between the walls to help reduce heat loss from the home. Around 1 in 4 homes across the UK have solid walls.

Funding on this scheme is currently fully allocated. Work at 17 homes has been completed, with one further home still to finish.

For more information about similar schemes that might be running in your area, freephone CSE 's Home Energy Team or email:

* In May 2010, the first such property, in Claverton Down on the outskirts of Bath, was treated with solid wall insulation as part of the scheme. The owner described it as, “smart” and admitted he was “looking forward to the benefits the work will bring next winter.

If you’re ever in doubt how low carbon refurbishment can transform lives, listen to this audio clip featuring a BBC Somerset interview with Steve, a customer of CSE’s Freedom from Fuel Poverty project, explaining how solid wall insulation transformed the lives of his family for the better.

Relevant downloads and links:

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