Student Homes to Become More Energy Efficient as Part of New Project

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The University of Worcester is taking part in a new innovative project under the Green Deal scheme aiming to make 50 student houses more energy efficient.

The project is one of 40 successful projects funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), sharing a total funding of £10 million.

In recognition of its excellence in sustainability, the University of Worcester is one of the key partners in the project, along with Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council, Encraft Ltd and Act on Energy advice centre.

The project aims to empower students to improve living conditions for themselves and future tenants by providing practical skills and knowledge in energy efficiency from industry experts and to make it easy for eligible homes to get access to Green Deal improvements.

Students from the University of Worcester are planning to carry out 250 pre-assessment surveys and collect data from their own and fellow student properties via an online tool specifically designed for this project. Based on the results, 150 full home surveys are expected to happen, which will potentially lead to 50 houses being put forward for potential upgrading. Landlords and students will receive home energy advice in the first two stages.

Katy Boom, Director of Environmental Sustainability at the University, said: “All of the partners are very excited about this pilot project; it is a great opportunity for us to help pull students out of fuel poverty and help with keeping Worcestershire at the leading edge of environmental sustainability, whilst learning innovative ways to make Green Deal work locally.

“The students, who are taking part in the project, will develop skills which will improve their employability and awareness whilst improving their standards of accommodation. This innovative project is designed in such way so that it can be easily replicated in other university towns.”

Cllr Anthony Blagg, County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste Management, said: “We’re very pleased to be part of this fantastic project, which will help students save cash, whilst at the same time also help the environment. Research has shown that the typical home in this country loses around a third of the heat produced in a house through its roof, windows and walls meaning for every £3 spent on energy around a £1 is wasted. Projects like this are aiming to increase awareness and put in place things that can change this, which can only be a good thing.”

Worcestershire County Council (WCC) has been working with all district councils and local partners over the last five months to develop the Worcestershire Councils Green Deal Delivery Plan and initiated the project in 2011. When the final report is delivered, WCC will select the most appropriate Green Deal Delivery model for the County, ensuring the long-term legacy of the project.

Worcester City Council has procured Act on Energy to start the programme. It also supports the development of the Green Deal Delivery Plan and provides assistance with data and landlord engagement.