Hundreds of Homes to be Given Green Makeovers
Around 200 homes across Oldham have been given major green makeovers to slash bills and make them more energy efficient as part of a multi-million-pound retrofit programme to transform 3,800 properties.

The first wave of the First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) scheme has benefitted homes in Royton, Failsworth, Chadderton, Shaw, and Oldham with a raft of eco improvements.

It is aiming is to make the homes warmer, cheaper to heat, more environmentally friendly, meet net zero targets, and reduce household bills by up to 30 per cent.

It is predicted that households could see a 30% reduction on their energy bills 

The recently completed year-long initial project included 160 properties fitted with solar panels, 19 homes received loft insulation, plus 23 triple-glazed windows and 8 insulated doors fitted.

FCHO predicts households could see a 30 per cent reduction on their energy bills and save a combined 225 tonnes of carbon per year going forward. This is the equivalent of planting 9,000 trees a year to offset emissions.

First Choice Homes Oldham, responsible for more than 11,300 homes, will be contributing £3.4 million into the scheme on top of the £2.8 million it received through both Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF). This makes it the third-largest SHDF programme across Greater Manchester.

Home energy performance surveys to a further 700 homes across the borough are currently underway, these will determine the eligibility for homes for funding made available in the future.

Funding in the future may include loft insulation, triple-glazed windows and doors, solar panels, and low-energy lighting.

More job opportunities will be created for the local community 

The SHDF works are part of wider efforts by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and their registered provider partners to improve the energy efficiency of social homes across the city region.

Delivered by contractor Connolly throughout 2023, the first wave of makeovers means they all now have a minimum C band EPC.

Steve Mather, FCHO Executive Director of Homes, said: “Working towards net zero generates a range of opportunities for customers and the communities we serve by lowering energy bills and reducing fuel poverty within our neighbourhoods.”

Continuing, Steve added: “We’ll see more jobs created, the opportunity for local people to gain new skills and for local contractors to deliver our investment programme.”

It’ll be great for the economy, great for FCHO and great for our customers as part of our commitment to upgrade 3,800 homes.

Oldham is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030 

In the project, measures were carefully tailored to the needs of each home involved in the project, to make the biggest impact on energy consumption.

Cllr Abdul Jabbar, Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources explained: “It’s great news that Oldham residents will directly benefit from these improvements provided by First Choice Homes Oldham. The changes will not only be better for their pockets, but also keep them warmer during the winter months.”

We’re working hard to be the greenest borough in Greater Manchester and we’re making great progress, but we recognise this has to be a collective effort.

The Cllr also highlighted: “These improvements complement our Green New Deal Strategy – our plan to make council buildings and street lighting carbon neutral by 2025, and for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2030.”

This ongoing work will help to amplify energy efficiency 

The scheme of green upgrades will go towards achieving the sustainability targets FCHO set in its Big Plan and Sustainability Strategy.

The homes are the first of 3,800 existing FCHO properties to undergo retrofit work between 2023 and 2028 to make them more energy efficient and help the housing association achieve its ambitious net zero targets.

Cllr Tom Ross, GMCA lead for the Green City Region, said: “Ongoing work to reduce the energy used in homes across Greater Manchester is playing a vital role in reducing both carbon emissions and energy bills, helping make our city-region a greener and fairer place for all.

“It’s fantastic to see how tenants are already benefitting from the many improvements being made to their homes, all whilst supporting the growth of the retrofit employment sector and contributing to Greater Manchester’s long-term environmental vision – to be carbon neutral by 2038.”

Transforming these homes is fundamental to not only providing better quality homes for the local community but in helping the UK to reach its net zero target.