How the Combined Authority is helping thousands of low-income households cut heating costs and reduce carbon emissions

Reaching the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s target of becoming net zero carbon by 2040 will mean halving the city region’s total energy use.

Domestic properties produce nearly a third of all carbon emissions so making the city region’s housing stock more energy efficient will help reach net zero while reducing people’s bills and keeping them warmer.

That’s why the Combined Authority has already bid for and won £105m in funding to support low-income households through retrofitting around 10,000 properties with energy efficient measures including external wall insulation, roof insulation, heat pumps and solar panels.

Through the £31m Sustainable Warmth Fund, the Combined Authority is upgrading more than 2800 properties, including homes that are not connected to the gas grid, which rely on expensive heating systems using oil or liquid petroleum gas.

Mr and Mrs Goulbourne in Ince Blundell are amongst many householders who have already benefitted from the retrofitting programme, in their case through the free installation of an air source heat pump.

Christopher Golbourne said:

“We used to have to wait in for gas bottles to come. When we had the hard winter a few years ago, two bottles lasted us three weeks and they are now £70 a bottle. The air source heat pump is cleaner as well – it’s just a different house. I wouldn’t entertain gas after that and considering we got it for nothing you can’t complain at that.”

An air source heat pump transfers heat from the outside air to water, which heats rooms via radiators or underfloor heating. It can also heat water stored in a hot water cylinder for hot taps, showers and baths.

Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump, which raises the temperature and then transfers that heat to water.

David Colbourne, Housing Retrofit Manager at the Combined Authority, said:

“Where people have got expensive heating systems, such as oil and LPG, the installation of an air source heat pump will lead to an energy cost saving. With an air source heat pump you set the temperature in the property and it keep the property at those temperatures, as opposed to turning the heating on when you need it.”

Maria O’Connor, Senior Operations Manager at Ecogee, who fitted the heat pump, said:

“Mr and Mrs Golbourne had their heat pump installed in August 2022 so they have been through a winter and are enjoying the benefits.”

Energy efficient measures at all 2,800 properties supported through the Sustainable Warmth Fund were installed by Ecogee and Next Energy, on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

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