COMMENT: By October, the cost of energy will have tripled in a year – but there is help for private tenants and landlords in Greenwich and Lewisham who want to get energy-saving measures installed. JESS DUNNING of South East London Community Energy (SELCE) explains.
With today’s news that energy bills are set to soar to an average of £3,549 a year, many of us are beginning to think how we can reduce our home energy consumption to keep costs down. Tenants in privately-rented properties are particularly affected by this, as they live in the most energy-inefficient properties of all the UK’s housing stock, on average.
Having an energy-efficient home means a lower amount of energy is required for the same task. Homes with good insulation, draught-proofing, double glazing and other measures are more energy efficient and, therefore, will have lower energy bills as they require less heating due to better heat retention.
For years many landlords have not been motivated to install energy-efficiency measures due to the seeming lack of personal benefit or gain. But times are changing. Minimum energy efficiency standards are set to rise and landlords will soon be obliged to have a C-rating on their Energy Performance Certificate.
We’re helping both landlords and their tenants access the government’s Warmer Homes grant funding to install energy efficiency measures sooner rather than later, increasing both the thermal comfort and energy performance of properties. This not only protects the landlord against future non-compliance, but also provides the tenant with a better, more comfortable home and reduced energy costs.
Through this government grant funding, privately rented properties with an EPC rating of D or below can receive a grant of up to £5,000 for energy efficiency installations such as insulation, double glazing, and even renewable energy systems, with landlords contributing a third of the cost.
To be eligible, the tenants must have a low household income or be in receipt of an income-related benefit. However, it can be hard to work out eligibility on your own, as income thresholds vary based on your housing costs and household composition. That’s where SELCE can help.
Until the end of September, we have been asked by both Greenwich and Lewisham councils to help tenants and landlords through this process. We can help explain the details of the Warmer Homes funding, confirming eligibility by gathering the relevant information, and make the funding application on their behalf.
If you want to know more or think you could be eligible, just give our advisor Hojee a call on 020 4529 6014, book a time for him to call you or email us on futurefithomes[at]selce.org.uk. We can talk it through with you, confirm your eligibility and then it’s up to you if you’d like to proceed.
As a community energy co-operative, SELCE’s advice is always impartial. We were set up in 2014 by a group of Greenwich and Lewisham residents who were concerned about the escalating pace of climate change and wanted to do something about it in a local setting.
Since then, we’ve put solar on 11 community-based sites and used the surplus funds to help reduce fuel poverty in our local boroughs. We provide free, expert, independent, one-to-one energy advice either by phone or in person at a drop-in café, conduct home visits, organise workshops for support workers and carers and train “energy champions” to support the most vulnerable people in their neighbourhoods.
Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, you can book a call with Hojee via futurefithomes.org/book-online
To learn more about SELCE, visit selce.org.uk
JESS DUNNING is a project officer with South East London Community Energy
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