An innovative project that aims to cut the price of energy bills and reduce carbon emissions has been launched in County Durham.
Durham County Council has set up its flagship community energy efficiency project, Solid Wall Insulation Innovation.
The £2.5 million European Union funded project, also known as SWIi, aims to provide 220 homes in County Durham with the latest technology in solid wall insulation, resulting in carbon savings in excess of 5040 TCO2 (total carbon dioxide) over the properties’ lifetime.
Residents who have volunteered to take part will see the benefit of having their homes, which are comprised of older stone or brick, fitted with the latest external wall insulation system. Smart heating controllers will also be installed into the homes to help monitor energy usage.
In the North East most properties built after 1920 were constructed with a cavity between the inside and outside walls that can be easily filled with insulation. However, older solid wall properties can only be insulated by attaching boards or sheets to the inside or the external wall.
Chris Mutumbwa, from Ramshaw, is taking part in the scheme. He said:
“My wife and I live in a historic stone property with very thick walls and high ceilings. Our property is beautiful but expensive to heat. When we heard that the council was trialling an external insulation system that could exactly replicate our limestone house, we were delighted to take part.”
Durham University’s Durham Energy Institute will research and fully evaluate the benefits that the new insulation system will bring. It will look at the energy usage, temperature and humidity of the properties as well as the use of the new smart heating controls to assess how these technologies can provide warmer homes and change behaviours.
Cllr Tanya Tucker, Cabinet support member for strategic housing and assets, said:
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Durham University on this groundbreaking energy efficiency project.
“The county has over 50,000 solid wall brick and stone built homes which are very difficult to keep warm without wall insulation. Through this project we now have a system which is easier to install, affordable and looks great.”
A well-insulated home typically uses 25 per cent less energy than an uninsulated similar property. This also saves householders 25 per cent on their heating bills and is better for the environment, helping to reduce global warming.
Dr Hongjian Sun, from the Durham Energy Institute, said:
“SWIi is a very exciting innovation project that helps Durham move quickly to the era of high energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprints.
“It demonstrates several key technologies on over 200 properties in the county and has huge potential to release the benefits of holistic energy efficiency approaches on whole-place energy and carbon savings.”
Further details can be found on the project website.