Eco-Upgrades Delivered to 250 Homes in East of England
A £12.8 million scheme in the East of England has seen more than 250 social homes receive eco-upgrades such as solar panels, air source heat pumps, and external wall insulation.

The scheme is being funded by social housing provider Flagship Group, as well as the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund. In the first wave of upgrades, Flagship contributed £2.5 million, with a further £1.5 million provided by the government.

This initial phase of the project saw 151 homes upgraded, 52 of which with heat pumps and solar panels, and the remaining 99 with external wall insulation.

Wave two, which has received £4.4 million from the government which was matched by Flagship, is currently underway having commenced last year, and is expected to run up until 2025. So far, this phase has delivered eco-upgrades to more than 100 homes.

Residents have responded positively to the upgrades

Among those to benefit from the scheme so far are residents John, 83, and Dorothy Phillips, 77. Their home in Swanton Morley, Norfolk, is managed by Victory Homes, part of Flagship.

Retired carpenter John expressed how impressed he was with the new solar panels and heat pump installed at his home. He said:

We’re very happy with it. We are at 18 degrees all the time and have constant hot water 24 hours a day.

Working towards net zero is a key priority for the housing provider

Claire Papworth, retrofit team manager at Flagship, has stated that the overall aim of the project is to reduce emissions. She explained that heat pumps were more efficient than gas boilers because they are designed to work at a steady temperature.

“It’s comparable to the miles per gallon in your car – the more efficiently you drive your car the more miles you will get per gallon,” she said.

“A heat pump is most efficient when it can maintain a constant lower temperature, rather than turning it on and off and turning the thermostat up. This ensures the home stays warm for a longer period so the heat pump is not working hard trying the heat the home.

“With boilers, for every £1 you spend you’re only getting about 90p back in energy because they’re not totally efficient. But for every 1kWh you draw from the grid with a heat pump, you get 3kWh back, so effectively you are getting £3 worth for every £1 you pay for.

“We ensure that insulation levels are up to standard alongside ASHP installs to help reduce the amount of energy required to heat your home and to retain the heat provided by the ASHP. In doing so the energy reduction will help reduce energy costs.”

The group have stated that working towards net zero is a key priority. According to their most recent ECG report covering the financial year 2022-23, Flagship delivered hundreds of low carbon technologies, including 20 ground source heat pumps, 360 air source heat pumps, 63 solar PVs, and 67 high retention storage heaters.

Flagship operates across the East of England through Victory Homes, Samphire Homes, and Newtide Homes. The group’s Net Zero Strategy sets out the aim to upgrade all of its homes to the energy-efficient EPC C/SAP 69 rating by 2030.