Solar panels and insulation upgrades planned for Ipswich council homes

Neil MacDonald with solar panel

Neil MacDonald with council officials admiring the new solar panels in Kingfisher Avenue. - Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

Scores of Ipswich council houses will see energy efficiency upgrades this year, including solar panels, thanks to a six-figure government grant.

Ipswich Borough Council was awarded £852,112 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's Green Homes Grants pot, which will be used to help fund a £1.5million plan to install solar panels on 227 council homes and external wall insulation for 45 properties.

It follows the council's existing programme of works to make its council houses more energy efficient, with the council providing the other half of the funds.

Labour council leader David Ellesmere said it was "a vote of confidence in the existing solar PV panel programme" the council already had underway.

David Ellesmere, Labour leader of Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said the government grant for solar panels was a vote on confidence in the council's existing programme of upgrades - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Councillor Neil MacDonald, portfolio holder for housing, said: "It's great we are able to tackle fuel poverty within the housing stock.

"The average energy efficiency SAP rating of our stock is now 73, which puts them in Band C. The required insulation of the 45 [homes proposed] will get those homes up to Band C as well.

"I am very pleased to see that. The Suffolk Housing in Needs assessment by the county council says that 1,200 excess winter deaths in Suffolk are due to cold homes over the last 10 years.

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"Cold homes increase the risk of lung conditions like asthma, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, strokes, exacerbate long term conditions such as diabetes and asthma, and impair recovery after hospital discharge.

"They say that half the annual cost of heating Suffolk homes could be saved by implementing energy efficiency improvements, and that is exactly what we are doing here."

The cash will be used to target the council homes with the lowest energy efficiency in the town.

The authority said other benefits of the programme included helping to address fuel poverty, supporting low income homes and helping towards climate change targets to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The work will be completed by the end of September 2021, according to the council's report presented to the council's executive on Tuesday night.

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