West Cumbrian firms lead the way in green heating scheme
Last updated at 22:02, Thursday, 03 February 2011
Westfield Housing Association is leading the way in providing cheaper, greener heating for residents with European grant money awarded to a Cumbrian partnership.
Cumbria Cohesion Partnership, which includes the county council, University of Cumbria, Westfield Housing, Home Housing, Impact Housing, South Lakes Housing, Envirolink Northwest and the Energy Savings Trust, has been awarded £3.73 million from the European Regional Development Fund.
The aim of the funding is to boost the local ‘green’ economy, reduce fuel poverty, lower carbon emissions and improve quality of life for over 800 households.
The partnership is set to invest more than £7.5 million in the next three years to fit renewable energy technologies to properties and install insulation.
Westfield Housing Association has begun the first project using the grant and money from the Government and is fitting thermal solar panels to 16 properties in Ashmore Gardens, Workington.
Graham Howarth, director of Westfield Housing Association, said: “The principle is that when the sun is shining the residents will be able to get free hot water.”
One of the aims of the wider project is to get local businesses on board and Workington firm Stobbarts and Whitehaven firm Arctic Air were given the contract to fit the solar panels.
Mike Reaney, owner of Arctic Air, said: “We were invited to bid for the contract and decided the best way to do it would be to do it as a joint venture with Stobbarts.
“Our business is renewable energy so we are hoping to get involved in these kinds of schemes in the future in order to grow and employ more people.”
The company has already taken on an extra employee to carry out the work.
Phil Davies, chair of the partnership and social enterprise manager at Impact Housing, said: “Of course this is about helping vulnerable people out of fuel poverty but by joining the resources of many housing organisations in Cumbria we can start to create a market for environmental goods and skills, the scale of which will provide local companies with the confidence they need to invest in training, new technologies and to expand their operations.”
Westfield Housing has implemented other energy-efficient schemes at Allonby, Broughton Cross, Tallentire and Camerton.
First published at 19:37, Thursday, 03 February 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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