Client: Central Bedfordshire Council
Measures: External Wall Insulation
Location: Three Star and Whipsnade Parks, Bedfordshire
Date:October 2020 – August 2021
Value: Approx. £900k
In August 2020, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) worked with Cornerstone to develop an application for Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) 1A funding, with a view to externally insulating 100 of their 1,200+ privately owned park homes inhabited by low income households.
Central Bedfordshire has one of the highest numbers of park homes per local authority in England. CBC had long aimed to address the lack of energy efficiency within this property type, having identified it as a particular area of need via an Equality Impact Assessment carried out in October 2014. Having received responses from 426 residents, the results confirmed the national trend of park home inhabitants being significantly older and more vulnerable than the general population - 80.2%were over 65 years old, 25% had a disability and 23.8% felt that ill-health or disability was the reason they are most likely to have to leave their park home.
The GHG LAD scheme therefore represented an exciting and unprecedented opportunity for CBC to tackle this sector, one that they seized. Drawing on our experience of having already insulated over 100 park homes, Cornerstone and CBC developed a compelling application for the funding – despite challenges including a very short application period and the ongoing pandemic – and was one of only four local authorities/local authority consortia to be successful within the East of England region. The CBC bid also stood out for its ambition, securing nearly £1m to insulate 100 homes over a tight delivery period.
On award, CBC and Cornerstone immediately set about the pro-cess of engaging the owners and residents of the park home sites, targeting the sites in size order. The first and largest site was Three Star Park in Lower Stondon, which has more than 170 homes. Off gas parks were also prioritised, in recognition that un-insulated park homes with usually LPG as a fuel type would be most costly to heat for the resident. Homes with an EPC rating of E-G and a household income of <£30k per annum qualified, as per the funding scheme criteria.
Once the initial engagement, verification and survey process had been completed, installation works were able to commence. Ex-ternal wall insulation had been selected for installation as part of a fabric first approach, with benefits including an increase in the thermal efficiency and comfort of the property, a reduction in en-ergy bills and carbon emissions, improved structural integrity and appearance and reduced property maintenance requirements.
The installation period lasted from October 2020 to August 2021 (with some downtime during the inclement weather over winter) and saw the full 100 installations completed across two sites – Three Star Park and Whipsnade Park near Dunstable. This was only able to be achieved due to the proactivity of CBC in promoting the scheme, driving the engagement process and completing veri-fication checks. In addition, the installation rates that Corner-stone were able to maintain despite the impacts of poor weather, the pandemic and supply chain pressures were crucial to timely delivery.
Once installed, the properties typically saw an increase of at least one EPC band. Each household is predicted to save up to £105 a year on their energy bills, or around £3,150 over the lifetime of the measure. In addition, the scheme is expected to save 60 tonnes of CO2 a year, or 1,500 tonnes over the lifetime of the measures installed.
Anecdotally, feedback from residents suggests that the impact of the insulation was felt almost immediately, with the scheme warmly welcomed across the board.
The scheme has been a resounding success both locally and for the LAD format and prompted CBC to apply for and secure an even greater amount of funding for park home insulation under LAD phase 1B. In addition to the direct benefits felt by recipients of the funded measures, additional social value has also been achieved through the generation of sustainable new employment and apprenticeship opportunities for local people.
The scheme has also been nominated for Large Project of the Year (<£250k) at the East of England Energy Efficiency Awards 2021.
“We are delighted with the work that has been done. The team were polite, helpful and very professional they also tidied up as they worked, well done.”
– Mr & Mrs B at Three Star Park
“Cornerstone has supported Central Bedfordshire Council throughout this scheme operating an exceptionally well managed and run project to a successful outcome, enabling some of the most vulnerable residents in Central Bedfordshire to be taken out of fuel poverty, reducing the residents health and wellbeing inequalities in line with the NICE Excess Winter Death Guidance and reducing the Carbons Emissions supporting the Government’s ambitions to be net zero by 2050.”
– Jonathan Arnold, Private Sector Housing Manager at Central Bedfordshire Council
“This scheme is a great example of how we strive to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents whilst achieving our target of reducing carbon emissions. This forms part of our pledge in our sustainability plan to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions.”
– Councillor Carole Hegley, the council’s Executive Member for Adults, Social Care and Housing Operations