Shortlisted firms put their energy saving products to leading Midlands social housing experts
ELEVEN Midlands firms whose energy saving products have been shortlisted in a green housing challenge have showcased their innovations to regional social housing experts in Wolverhampton.
The companies, who were selected through the Built Environment Climate Change Innovations (BECCI) project’s ‘Hard to Heat’ challenge, had the opportunity to demonstrate their products or services to leading regional social housing providers including Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and South Staffordshire Housing Trust Association (SSHA) at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park.
“The challenge hopes to highlight the depth of products or services available in the Midlands that if implemented by social housing providers would result in less energy consumption by the tenants of these properties,” said Glenn Barrowman, BECCI project manager at the University of Wolverhampton.
BECCI is a project supported by the European Regional Development Fund and is a partnership between the Universities of Wolverhampton and Coventry, which aims to support businesses in the West Midlands that can help reduce carbon emissions from existing housing, making them cheaper to keep warm.
Some of the shortlisted innovations on show included thermostats to control room temperature at the touch of a button or app, a system to gain heat from waste water and external wall insulation which uses environmentally friendly natural materials.
SARH and SSHA, which own and manage a combined 11,000 homes in Staffordshire, were part of the judging panel in the challenge, which aims to help tackle fuel poverty.
“Today’s event has highlighted some of the new and innovative ways Midlands firms are developing technology to make properties more eco-friendly and reduce fuel bills. SARH was delighted to take part in this project as we are always keen to look at new ideas to improve our customers’ homes,” said Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of SARH.
Homes are considered hard to treat when they are difficult to make airtight and insulate or when they don’t have access to mains gas. This includes properties which have solid stone or brick walls, homes made of a mixture of steel and concrete and properties which don’t have lofts.
There are around 1,500 of these homes within SARH and SSHA’s housing stock and the shortlisted ideas in the challenge will now be evaluated and considered for implementation within SARH and SSHA’s investment programmes.
“We are continually investing in our housing stock to improve the quality of housing we provide. We recognise that fuel poverty is becoming a significant issue for customers with rising utility costs and people’s household budgets being squeezed. This challenge has introduced some new innovative ways to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and in turn the lifestyles of our customers for us to consider,” said Ursula Bennion, director of business development at Housing Plus, which SSHA is a part of.
The shortlisted companies will also get the chance to give individual presentations to the panel again on September 30 and it is hoped as a result of the challenge they will enter into further discussions with the stakeholder partners involved.