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West Midlands residents urged to get ready as homes are lined up for latest fuel reducing technology

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As energy bills continue to rocket, more than 300 West Midlands households are set to have the latest fuel reducing technology installed in their homes – free of charge. Residents in Foleshill, Coventry and Elmdon, Solihull have been invited to learn more about a new scheme which will see their homes fully retrofitted with insulation, heating systems and even solar panels. The retrofit work is aimed at slashing their domestic energy use, helping to cushion them from the impact of soaring electricity and gas prices. The overhaul will also reduce carbon emissions, helping to fight climate change while supporting the region’s #WM2041 ambition to be net zero within the next 20 years. Householders in the two districts are set to receive a letter inviting them to a series of community engagement events, starting later this month, to discuss the retrofit scheme and the benefits it will contribute to their property. Retrofitting the homes is completely free for the residents and will begin in September once the first 300 homes have been identified. Eligible measures for selected households will include: external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, underfloor insulation, loft insulation, draught proofing, air source heat pumps, solar PV, double glazing new doors, floor insulation, heating controls and ventilation. The retrofit programme will look to target older homes that have low energy efficiency and will be the first homes to benefit as part of the £19 million Sustainable Warmth Competition funding secured by the Midlands Net Zero Hub, working with a consortium of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Coventry City Council, and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. A total of £2.86m will be invested in 300 homes in Elmdon, Solihull and Foleshill, Coventry by the WMCA, with plans to help another 1,700 homes across public funded retrofit programmes over the next few years. This move comes as the region seeks to ramp up action to tackle climate change, reduce fuel poverty and support #WM2041. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands of chair of the WMCA, said ” I’m pleased to hear that our efforts to retrofit homes in order to improve energy efficiency are progressing with the Sustainable Warmth Competition now open for applications. “I very much encourage eligible residents across Elmdon and Foleshill to step forward and get involved in this innovative scheme. “With nearly 40% of the region’s carbon emissions coming from heating and powering our homes, retrofitting has a key role to play in reducing emissions as we move towards our WM2041 net zero goal – not to mention the help it can offer residents seeking to lower their fuel bills in these challenging times. It is good news for people across Coventry and Solihull that this competition is underway.” Retrofitting houses in the West Midlands to be greener and more energy efficient is also the focus of the WMCA’s Net Zero Neighbourhood programme. Announced by the Mayor at the COP26 environment conference in Glasgow last year, it looks at how a whole place approach to retrofit and other solutions can help accelerate the transition to Net Zero. Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio holder for environment and energy and leader of Solihull Council, said: “I’m pleased over 150 homes in Solihull will become more energy efficient as a result of the funding we have managed to secure.  It is great news for both the households concerned and the planet too. “The Sustainable Warmth Competition funding will be able to help some of the most vulnerable households in the West Midlands reduce their energy usage and cut their carbon emissions. “But this is just the start, WMCA aims to do so much more in the future by supporting environmentally friendly housing, engaging with residents and house builders/developers to create whole communities of low carbon, energy efficient houses.” Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change said: “We know that for some there are longstanding issues with fuel poverty in this city and the rise in energy prices on the that’s only going to get worse. This funding will offer these low-income households a way to make their homes more energy efficient which in turn will help them to get their energy bills down. “By taking a place-based approach to delivering this scheme we hope to make a real difference.  People can feel distrustful of offers for reduced cost and free energy saving schemes but what this initiative will test is if we can overcome that with lots of direct and one to one conversations. And by focusing on this one area, we’ll be able to engage more of our residents and hopefully create a whole community full of energy efficient, cost saving, low carbon houses. “We’re committed to ensuring our city is a clean and green place to live and work which is why Coventry is the perfect place for this project. This city is leading the green industrial revolution and this scheme, which will run alongside our Keeping Coventry Warm city-wide project, has a major part to play. Best of all though, residents will feel the real benefits.”

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