Local authorities win big for projects tackling climate crisis and energy bills

Several local authorities were named winners at this year’s Energy Awards for projects tackling the climate crisis and high energy prices.

Durham County Council won the biggest award of the night, as they were announced National Energy Champions of the Year for their Warm and Healthy Homes (WHH) scheme.

The project involved teaming up with GP practices to spotlight vulnerable residents for assistance, such as those with long covid, asthma or premature babies.

They were written to and asked to complete questionnaires on their home, health and any cold related issues they had before being contacted by the WHH team about support, ranging from gas boiler and insulation grants, servicing, repairs and warm homes discounts.

Now 11,300 patients have been contacted, with 899 gas boilers installed and 1,200 insulation grants awarded, while 649 patients have been helped to save £66,000 on their energy tariffs and in fuel debt write offs.

four street lights

Cllr Alan Shield, Durham County Council Cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: ‘I would like to say a huge well done to the Warm and Healthy Homes Team for its amazing achievement in supporting so many residents with their homes and energy.

‘A well-heated home can make a significant difference to the health of someone who is elderly or vulnerable. At a time where energy bills are on the rise, ensuring residents have access to affordable heat and energy is more important than ever, and the team’s hard work and assistance has made a huge contribution to this.’

A project to installing eco-friendly LEDs into more than 55,000 streetlights in Edinburgh won a won Energy Project of the Year – Public for its efforts to conserve energy and limit carbon emissions.

It’s estimated that the project could save the City of Edinburgh Council £54m over the course of 20 years and has already reduced street lighting energy consumption by around 60%, with carbon emissions also dropping by 75%.

Cllr Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: ‘This award is testament to the hard work of all those involved in this major project, as well as the value it will deliver in terms of energy efficiencies, cost savings and lowering the city’s CO2 emissions.

‘These are the kind of innovations we need to see to meet the Council’s net zero 2030 aims and provide a greener, more welcoming city for future generations.’

Additionally, the energy efficiency programme, run by infrastructure support company Amey, saw a new lighting control management system installed to detect faults across the network.

Torbay Council, Parkwood Leisure and energy consultancy Leisure Energy were also recognised at the awards, winning Energy efficiency Partnership of the Year.

A gas boiler has been replaced by an air source heat pump at Torbay Leisure Centre, along with solar panels and LED lighting with £2m funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that Torbay has won this award in recognition of efforts by partners to tackle climate change – this shows the power of partnership working.’

Photo by Dimitar Belchev


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