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Improving energy efficiency

Published: Thur, 18 Feb 2016
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Noel Rice, our Energy Conservation Manager is helped by children of Hart Memorial PS and teacher, Emma Wilkinson, to launch the 19th annual HECA report
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The Housing Executive is the Home Energy Conservation Authority for Northern Ireland and as such has an important role to play in improving energy efficiency in homes and advising people on how to save energy.
Each year we produce an annual progress report which records key outputs by the organisation, and other agencies, in improving the energy efficiency of housing in Northern Ireland.
During 2014/15 we invested over £31m to complete 6,910 heating conversions in its homes and began an initiative to have 1,000 of its homes fitted with solar PV panels through a privately financed scheme. It also completed the largest single stock condition survey of its properties in recent years and the data from this will inform its long term strategy for all its homes.
Our Energy Conservation Unit also produced ‘An Energy Good Practice Guide’ for the refurbishment of residences. The guide, which was well received by the industry, encourages households to get the most out of the fuel used within their home and to keep heat where it is needed for as long as possible by using enhance the thermal performance of the fabric of the dwelling.
In partnership with Bryson Energy, we provided energy advice to 12,837 households across Northern Ireland, established 27 new oil buying clubs, over 7,500 of our tenants got Heatsmart energy advice and over 10,000 P6 school children in 260 primary schools received an education in how to be eco-friendly.
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As the Home Energy Conservation Authority for Northern Ireland we administered the Warm Homes and Boiler Replacement schemes both of which were funded by the Department for Social Development (DSD). In 2014/15 through the ‘Warm Homes’ scheme, £10.5m was invested in 6,626 insulation jobs and 746 heating replacements. Meanwhile, 8,399 new energy efficient boilers were installed at a cost of £5.5m.
In April 2015, Affordable Warmth replaced Warm Homes. This is a primarily a targeted scheme whereby DSD has provided information to all of the new councils detailing the households within each council area considered to be on low income and at risk of severe fuel poverty based on a targeting tool developed by Ulster University.
Local councils in turn contact households directly and support them through the application process so they can benefit from measures which include roof insulation, cavity wall insulation, heating and double glazing. Eligible applications are then processed by the Housing Executive which is administering delivery of the programme on behalf of DSD.
Our Director for Regional Development, Siobhan McCauley, said:
“Fuel poverty remains a challenge in Northern Ireland. Our Energy Conservation Unit provides a vital role in seeking out innovative ways to help combat this, save energy and promote efficiency in energy use. This year we have recorded significant progress and I commend the work of all involved.”