Cornwall has been awarded money to make homes warmer and with greener energy

Posted on: 4th July 2020

Cornwall has been awarded money to make homes warmer and with greener energy.

The Government has announced funding for Cornwall Council to start work later this year on a pioneering programme to make residents’ homes more energy efficient.

The Council is one of three local authorities across the country to secure funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme for the Whole House Retrofit Innovation project.

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced nearly £80 million of Government investment this week to help cut carbon emissions from homes and energy intensive businesses.

Cornwall Council’s £4.2m pilot scheme is also receiving funding from the Council and its energy partner SSE which will see improvements such as external wall insulation, solar panels and heat pumps fitted to 83 homes managed by Cornwall Housing.

Work is set to start on the first 16 homes in the autumn, using innovative solutions that aim to significantly reduce the properties’ emissions, heat loss and running costs for residents.

All work will be carried out following social distancing safety requirements.

A key part of the Council’s response to the climate emergency, the carbon-reducing Whole House Retrofit programme aims to be a cost-effective model to improve energy efficiency to Cornwall’s existing homes.

It will cut energy bills for residents and help to reduce fuel poverty.

The Council hopes its ground-breaking scheme will be the first step in wider plans to fit mass retrofit improvements across Cornwall’s housing stock as it helps Cornwall strive towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Councillor Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall’s cabinet member for homes, said: “While we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic we continue our work tackling the climate emergency and we welcome this Government announcement today which will allow us to progress our plans to make our homes warmer and greener.

“The Whole House Retrofit programme is one of the priority projects of our ambitious Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme which was approved by Cabinet last year in response to the climate emergency.

“We need to substantially reduce emissions from Cornwall’s existing homes, which make up 21% of our overall carbon footprint. We need to do this while reducing energy bills for Cornish residents; particularly householders on low incomes and those who are vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home.

“The 83 homes in this pilot will benefit from a radical improvement, reducing their emissions by up to 80 per cent. And delivering this project will provide very useful learning to inform our approach to retrofitting our 10,000 Cornwall Council homes.”

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall’s cabinet member for climate change and neighbourhoods, said: “We welcome this funding from BEIS which will enable us to demonstrate how we can retrofit our own Council homes to ensure their energy performance is fit for a carbon neutral energy system.

“But to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030 we are asking the Government to support us in providing the finance and training needed for us to undertake the mass housing retrofit of all Cornwall’s homes that are rated below EPC level C.

“Cornwall has over 97,000 solid wall properties and 133,000 homes off gas which are a priority for energy efficiency improvements and a key part of our response to tackling the climate emergency.”

Cornwall Council Leader Julian German said: “I am pleased that we now have the opportunity to move ahead with this pilot. It will provide important learning to develop larger-scale programmes and proposals for our own housing stock but also for other social landlords, the private rented sector and more widely across Cornwall.”

Chris Franks, Director of Homes and Investment at Cornwall Housing, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project, which will not only improve the energy efficiency of our homes but ultimately benefit the people of Cornwall by contributing to a better environment for the future.”

Cornwall Council’s Whole House Retrofit Innovation programme will be managed by SSE Energy Solutions with support from PRP Architects LLP which designed the Whole House Retrofit system. It will be monitored and evaluated by BRE.

The Whole House Retrofit Innovation programme is receiving £1.051m from BEIS, £2.28m from Cornwall Council and £0.88 from SSE.

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We want to invest now to ensure we continue to propel the UK towards a stronger, greener future.

“This new £80 million investment will help to reduce emissions across our economy, which will save people money on energy bills and protect jobs in heavy industry.”

Other key schemes of Cornwall Council’s Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme are the 8,000-hectare carbon-absorbing Forest for Cornwall; a new, climate change planning document to promote renewable energy including the commitment to power all new homes with alternative sources to gas; and a new decision-making framework to prioritise environmental and social benefits in all Council policies.

For more information on Cornwall Council’s climate change plans go to