Aberdeen City Council invests in green energy technology for council homes
Aberdeen City Council is investing in a £5.2 million project that will see low-carbon and energy-efficient technology installed in 100 council homes.
Solar panels, heat pumps and battery storage systems will all be installed, with the aim of demonstrating how green innovations are a viable route to net-zero carbon emissions for the social housing in the UK.
All of the upgrades will be carried out at no cost to the tenants or landlords, and it is hoped the new technology will both improve comfort and lower energy costs for residents.
Glasgow-based firm SMS plc is running the scheme in conjunction with thermal imaging survey company IRT Surveys and Robertson Group after launching a partnership with Aberdeen City Council to deliver the changes to the homes.
The scheme will receive £2.2 million from the government’s newly launched Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator to get the work done.
A long-term partnership that spans 20 years has seen IRT Surveys thermally image Aberdeen City Council’s entire social housing portfolio of 22,000 homes, helping to diagnose building defects, energy inefficiencies and demonstrate a viable route to net-zero carbon emissions for landlords, whilst also reducing fuel poverty amongst residents.
Following a successful bid to the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), IRT Surveys will now deliver a programme of fabric upgrades and renewable energy technologies across 100 homes as part of the multi-million-pound innovation project.
The decarbonisation scheme will see IRT Surveys work with Aberdeen City Council to deliver a programme of low-carbon generation, and energy efficiency innovations, that aim to demonstrate decarbonisation potential for the council’s social housing stock, at the same time as also improving comfort and lowering energy costs for residents.
Leading edge technologies including solar panels, batteries, and heat pumps to remove the consumption of carbon intensive fuels will be deployed, alongside a behind-the-meter battery storage system to create a decarbonised neighbourhood.
As part of the project’s ‘fabric-first, whole-home’ approach, IRT Surveys’ thermal imaging technology identifies where fabric improvements are required to reduce space heating demand.
Implementing these fabric upgrades, in tandem with the installation of renewable energy assets, the project showcases a route to achieving net-zero emissions through a financed and scalable business model.
The installation phase of the scheme is scheduled for completion in December 2021, after which the energy performance of the 100 homes will be re-surveyed and monitored for a period of six months to demonstrate concept efficacy.
Stewart Little, CEO of IRT Surveys, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed for this landmark project with Aberdeen City Council, a scheme which we are pleased to say has received Government support through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator.
“The urgency of the climate crisis means it is vital that we address all carbon impacts from buildings including the UK’s social housing stock. By working alongside Aberdeen City Council, and our delivery partners SMS and Robertson Group, we will develop an intelligent, scalable model that will help decarbonise the council’s extensive housing portfolio in ways that are both commercially viable and affordable for residents.”
The installation phase of the new technology is expected to create 39 local jobs, and is scheduled for completion in December 2021.
In the months following, the energy performance will be monitored for six months to measure effectiveness.
Sean Keating, head of new energy systems at SMS, said: “By creating an expected 39 jobs locally through the initial trial phase of the scheme, our project additionally looks to demonstrate how – when delivered at scale – investment in green infrastructure can support the government’s agenda to level up regional economic growth.
“Indeed, above all this project is about creating a more sustainable future: one that ensures affordable comfort in our homes, reduces fuel poverty, creates jobs, and ultimately protects our environment amidst climate change.”