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Keeping warm sustainably

NLPG NSG Exemplar Award Runner up – Best Partnership Between Organisations 2009: Nottingham City Council.

Nottingham Warm Zone (NWZ) is a city wide home insulation scheme set up to make private homes and tenancies in the City of Nottingham affordably warm and fuel efficient. Its aim is to help local residents cut their fuel bills by providing free energy advice and free or discounted grants for cavity wall and loft insulation. NWZ is delivered by a partnership, running over three years (2008-2011), between the Warm Zone Community Interest Group (the NWZ holding company), Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Primary Care Trust, Scottish and Southern Energy and the Nottingham Energy Partnership. NWZ aims to provide something for everyone: alleviating fuel poverty, providing affordable warmth and reducing CO2 emissions.

In Nottingham, poor thermal efficiency is cited as the main reason for 16,600 (60%) homes failing to reach the Government’s ‘Decent Homes’ standard. Estimated savings, based on other similar schemes running in the UK, suggest a reduction of 20,000 tons of CO2 per annum. In addition, NWZ is tied to Nottingham’s Local Area Agreement and, more specifically, to national performance indicators 186, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and 187, tackling fuel poverty. In order for a scheme like this to work effectively, it has to be comprehensive, tackling the whole of the City of Nottingham, area by area, ward by ward, door by door.

In order to achieve this, NWZ has wielded the power of the council’s LLPG to deliver a systematic approach. This approach is geographical, records each householder’s energy efficiency standards, income levels, fuel poverty status and eligibility for a range of grants. It also leverages economies of scale by integrating different sources of funding and through collective delivery of energy improvements.

By using Nottingham’s LLPG, the scheme gained quick access to address data based on streets, wards and area committees. The LLPG enabled identification of domestic, commercial, council owned and other social housing properties through the UPRN. This was the mechanism to link different data systems and to provide huge benefits in terms of time and efficiency.

Outcomes

In the first nine months, NWZ achieved stunning results; assisting over 13,000 customers, installing 3,070 cavity wall or loft insulation measures and 193 heating installations. These introduced annual fuel savings in excess of £800,000 and cut CO2 emissions by nearly 44,000 tonnes. Other achievements included 600 Benefit Entitlement checks with an average back payment of £720, and an average weekly income increase of £45. Doorstep assessment has ensured much greater take up of domestic energy efficiency measures. NWZ has a high profile within the Council and has attracted significant local press attention. Local interest has now spread beyond the city and NWZ is currently compiling a proposal to extend the scheme to a neighbouring local authority.

This scheme is a great example of partnership working that, thanks to the LLPG, has got off to a flying start. It is fully funded, has delivered real benefits to citizens, and helped raise awareness of climate change and the measures required to cut CO2 emissions for a sustainable future. It has also enabled the partners to meet their varied obligations and targets.

Key benefits

  • Enabled stakeholders to comprehend with precision the importance of climate change.
  • Enabled a collaborative approach between public and private sector organisations, ensuring continued funding over the term of the project.
  • Enabled Nottingham City Council to embrace the government’s Sustainable Community Strategy and its own City of Nottingham 2020 Sustainable Energy Strategy.
  • Scottish and Southern Energy met its obligations under the Carbon Emissions Reduction target.
  • Citizens can and have benefited from:
  • – A free energy assessment.
  • – Free loft or cavity wall insulation for the over 65s and vulnerable households.
  • – £49 discounted loft or cavity wall insulation.
  • – Free heating measures.
  • – Top up grants.
  • – Benefits entitlement check.
  • -- Non-Decent Homes identified and made decent through the government backed Warm Front scheme.
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