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Social housing retrofit gets £150m boost

Welsh Government has announced an additional £150m to retrofit social homes with new technologies and insulation to help curb carbon emissions.

The funding will be part of the Optimised Retrofit Programme to assess what technologies work best in individual homes to ensure optimum energy efficiency, value for money and top environmental credentials.

The programme will see homes become so well insulated that heat would no longer wastefully escape. The funding will also be used for the installation of smart technologies so tenants can best control their energy use and to install a mix of clean technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and battery storage.

Deputy climate change minister Lee Waters said: ‘This investment will not only reduce emissions, but will cut the energy bills of the people who live in them. And we are already trialling heat pumps, intelligent energy systems and solar panels with battery storage.

‘We are taking a whole homes approach, which assesses what will work best in individual homes. The programme will see homes become so well insulated that heat would no longer wastefully escape.

‘Today’s announcement will help thousands more families be warm in their homes and support a just transition towards decarbonisation.’

Housing is one of Wales’ biggest emitters, accounting for 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

This summer Welsh Government announced a ban on fossil fuels to heat newly built social homes, with ambitions for the private sector to follow suit by 2025.

Welsh Government has also committed to building 20,000 low carbon social homes for rent over the next five years.

The extra funding has been welcomed by the Welsh housing sector. Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru director Matt Dicks said: ‘This is a significant additional pot of funding that places Wales on a much stronger footing in tackling climate change through improving the efficiency of existing homes and maximising the impact of technology to regulate energy use. We have been calling on the Welsh Government to work with the housing sector to provide longer-term funding clarity to meet our shared ambition of tackling climate change and this additional funding announced today is a welcome step.

‘At a time where we need a holistic approach to climate change, we also need a holistic approach to improving all types of homes in Wales – it is important in that context, funding and support of this kind is extended to include homes in the private rented sector to amplify the impact this investment has for people living in different house tenures across Wales.’

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