Eco-home success shines an energy efficient light on need for retrofit funding

A “ground-breaking” home retrofit scheme which could cut fuel bills for Waltham Forest residents by an estimated 75%, has been hailed by Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Sem Moema AM. Ms Moema says its rollout will help local people living in seven out of ten of the borough’s 110,000 homes which were built pre-1944 and haemorrhage heat through poorly insulated walls. Four in five of these households pay hundreds of pounds more than they should for energy each year, according to reports. Poor-quality housing has contributed to over 16% of the borough living in fuel poverty – the third highest in London, official data shows.

Last Wednesday, (11th May), Ms Moema, visited a 120-year-old Victorian four-bed house which has been turned into a Waltham Forest Council showcase of energy efficient technology on Greenleaf Road in Walthamstow, alongside Councillors Grace Williams, Clyde Loakes and Louise Mitchell.

Retrofit measures installed in the property include underfloor, wall and loft insulation, an air source heat pump, solar panels and battery storage, a shower water heat recovery unit, smart lighting and smart power sockets, and a mechanical ventilation heat recovery unit.

This is estimated to have cut the fuel bill by three quarters to around £400 a year, and reduced energy usage by two thirds, while raising the energy performance rating from an E to an A. The retrofit works came to around £67,000 as part of a total £115,000 renovation. The house will be let to a household on the Council’s housing waiting list in July.

Of the 12,000 homes managed by the council, nine out of ten have an EPC rating of C or below. It would reportedly cost an estimated £82 million to improve them, so far, Government grants have only been secured to retrofit 200.

More than half of Waltham Forest’s carbon emissions are caused by heating and powering homes.

Last year, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, declared a ‘retrofit revolution’ with a £10 billion package of measures to create ultra-low carbon buildings and create green jobs as part of the aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030.

More and more London households are being pushed below the poverty line by the cost of bills after the energy price cap rose by almost £700 in April and it’s set to rise again in the Autumn.

Assembly Member Moema is backing calls to shelve the National Insurance increase and for a windfall tax on gas and oil companies to pay for support for low-income families and households to deal with surging energy bills.