In July 2020, the Chancellor announced £500m of funding for Local Authority Delivery (LAD), as part of the wider £2bn ‘Green Home Grants’ programme of economic stimulus, to build a green recovery in response to the economic impacts of Covid-19.
ThamesWey in collaboration with Woking Borough Council secured £6.3m of phase 1A funding in September 2020 to upgrade 600 low-income, hard-to-heat properties across Surrey. An additional £3.1m was awarded to expand the project to a further 300 households under Phase 1B in February 2021. Surrey County Council also provided £372,000 of ‘top up’ funding to enable further delivery.
Both phases were delivered via Action Surrey. The scheme was marketed locally as “Green Jump Surrey” and ran from October 2020 through to March 2022.
Green Jump Surrey was a major success, creating much needed and sustained benefits for low-income households. 775 installations for almost 600 households will reduce annual energy bills by an average of £660 (April 2022 prices) and eliminate the need for an equivalent of 274 homes-worth of energy. Household energy costs are set to increase further across the country and these installations will help insulate the fuel-poor grant recipients from these additional rises.
The lifetime greenhouse gas emission savings created 26 mega-tonnes of CO2e, which is the equivalent to 3,211 years of the average household’s carbon footprint (encompassing energy, transport, aviation and waste).
The project was not without its challenges. The first phase suffered delays caused by Covid-19 lockdowns and poor weather, preventing exterior installations from taking place. The second phase was affected by rising inflation to material costs, and supply chain delays exacerbated by the end of the Brexit transition period. However, the project delivered the 3rd highest number of upgrades out of 90 ‘LAD’ projects, which shows that Action Surrey navigated and mitigated these challenges well.
Whilst the achievements of the project are undoubted, the upgrading of homes across the county to EPC D and above leaves fewer homes eligible for funding under future schemes, which are likely to use similar eligibility criteria. Different approaches to marketing and community engagement can help mitigate this, though short project timescales and a limited local supply chain will always be major challenges, which are difficult to overcome without a longer-term pipeline of additional projects to maintain local momentum.
Future projects must take into consideration the challenges and lessons learnt from Green Jump Surrey, in order to ensure effective management of government funding, and achieve successful results. Particularly relevant are the new PAS2035:2019 standards that will apply to all installations under future phases, to include ventilation requirements and a whole-house, fabric-first approach.
Below are graphs and charts that illustrate the achievements of the project and financial breakdowns:
Post-installation EPC ratings achieved:
Photos from a grant recipient: (Left: a ten-panel 4kW solar photovoltaic system, Centre: New solar hot water tank, Right: a double-panel flat plate solar collector):
Total Spend per Local Authority:
Funds spent and associated savings achieved: