Innovative Park Home Insulation Scheme

Client: Cheshire West and Chester Council
Measures: External Wall Insulation, Loft Insulation, Underfloor Insulation, Heat Recovery Ventilation
Location: Orchard Park, Elton, Cheshire
Date: January to May 2016
Value: £500,000

The Challenge

Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) recognised that residents of their many park home sites were at a greater than average risk of fuel poverty, and submitted a bid for funding that would enable them to offer fully funded insulation measures to those most in need.

Cornerstone’s bid team co-authored the application submitted to the Technical Innovation Fund, overseen by National Energy Action, in September 2015.  The bid was successful in securing an initial £200,000 grant, which alongside a significant CWAC contribution, fully funded the installation of loft, underfloor and external wall insulation in 30 homes.  Heat recovery ventilation units were also to be installed in half of the insulated properties to trial their effectiveness.

The Technical Innovation Fund grants aimed to trial measures and techniques that were not mainstream at the time, and to generate lessons learnt that would be beneficial to the energy efficiency industry and consumers in the future.

Orchard Park in Elton was selected as the ideal site for scheme roll-out, due to its size (109 single and double units) and the presence of a full time Site Manager.  The buy-in of Wyldecrest, the site owner, was also an important factor.

Cornerstone was appointed to manage the end to end process, from resident consultation to measure installation and aftercare.  The challenge was to deliver the innovative scheme with the cooperation of the tight knit Orchard Park community and to strict NEA standards and timescales.

Our Solution

Cornerstone worked closely with CWAC to engage with Orchard Park’s residents, introducing the scheme and inviting expressions of interest for the fully funded measures. 

Co-branded letters were distributed to all residents, with verbal communication channelled through Site Manager Ann Raywood during this initial phase.  By involving the Site Manager from the start of the scheme, we ensured communications were consistent and well controlled.  The result was that every single resident expressed interest in the scheme.

A number of factors were then used to prioritise park homes for the works, including the age and condition of the properties and whether any form of insulation already existed.  This data was collected and verified by Cornerstone’s surveyors, enabling us to produce a list of the 30 units most in need of insulation, and a waiting list.

Cornerstone then set about completing EPCs and Chartered Surveyors Reports on the selected park homes and establishing a site compound from which we coordinated the installations.  Residents were consulted at every stage of the works, from where to situate the compound to the colour and finish they preferred on their home.

Cornerstone installed Alumasc Swisstherm external wall insulation, Knauf loft insulation and SuperQuilt underfloor insulation, and Vent-Axia heat recovery ventilation units.  The measures were installed by directly employed Cornerstone engineers and electricians under the close supervision of our experienced Site Manager.

Throughout the works, Cornerstone’s Site Manager was constantly available to provide updates and answer resident questions and quickly became a familiar and welcome presence on site.  Out of hours, Orchard Park’s resident Site Manager provided a knowledgeable point of contact.  Ann had excellent site knowledge and a strong bond with the residents, as well as first-hand experience of insulating her own property, and was a tremendous help to Cornerstone in gaining the trust of the community.

The Result

On completion of each park home, sign-off was provided by the resident, CWAC and the NEA in consultation with our Site Manager.  Our external wall insulation system provider Alumasc was also closely involved throughout the scheme, ensuring best practice detailing and finishes were achieved.  A 25 year insurance backed guarantee was provided for each property.  

The 30 unit scheme was completed on time and budget and to exceptional quality standards, with all residents very happy with the new look and thermal efficiency of their properties.  Once each property was signed off, we sent each resident a thank you letter, including a £10 high street voucher as a goodwill gesture as well as energy saving tips that would help them make further savings on their energy bills.

CWAC and the NEA were very pleased with the results – Orchard Park was one of the Technical Innovation Fund’s highest performing schemes.  As a result, additional funding was provided by the NEA to extend the scheme, matched again in part by funds from CWAC.  In total, 52 properties received insulation measures under this scheme – 22 more than originally planned – due to our exceptional performance.

The measures have made a significant difference to the fuel bills of residents, lifting many of them out of fuel poverty.  The scheme also demonstrates how acute the need is for energy saving measures within park home communities and the effectiveness of a full insulation wrap on this property type.

More than £285k of third party grant funding secured for the works

‘The project at Orchard Park demonstrates that park homes can be insulated effectively. Park home residents are some of the most vulnerable residents in our Borough, living in homes with little or no insulation to keep them warm during the colder months. The funding CWAC was successful in obtaining from NEA will help the residents of Orchard Park benefit from reduced fuel bills and improved wellbeing.’

– Emma Edwards, Low Carbon Projects Officer at Cheshire West and Chester Council

‘Every single resident expressed interest in the insulation scheme – it has been so popular and made such a difference to the living conditions of our residents. I only have good things to say about Cornerstone – their work is excellent and they have become part of the Orchard Park family over recent weeks. I hope more residents are able to benefit from schemes like this in the future.’

– Ann Raywood, Site Manager

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