Residents in ten homes in Sneinton will be much warmer this Christmas – and better-off in the New Year – after becoming the first in the UK to benefit from innovative energy saving and energy generation measures.

The pilot project, which is now almost complete, will radically improve older houses and make the residents of these homes ultra-low energy consumers, dramatically reducing household energy bills and making homes warmer.

Nottingham City Homes (NCH), the Arms-Length Management Organisation (ALMO) managing and maintaining Nottingham City Council’s housing stock, has become the first in the UK to adopt a ground-breaking approach to retrofitting housing solutions, known as “Energiesprong.”  The programme of work is part of the next phase in the city’s Greener HousiNG programme. The Energiesprong approach, pioneered in the Netherlands, upgrades a home with new outside walls and windows, a solar roof, and a state of the art heating system.

One NCH tenant, Miss Joan Warbuton, said: “As soon as the new walls were put in place, it felt warmer straight away. Christmas in my home will be a lot warmer this year and it’s a relief to know that next year’s energy bills will be a lot cheaper. My home was really cold before and expensive to heat but now I’ve even had to stop wearing my winter slippers and get my summer ones back out.”

Part of the scheme’s innovation is how the works are funded. The household pays an ‘Energy plan’, so both the tenant and the landlord benefit from the energy bill savings. The landlord (NCH) will then use the income from the savings to fund similar works to more homes. The resident has a much more comfortable home, and a flat rate cost for energy, which will not rise significantly when energy bills rise.

Originating in the Netherlands, Energiesprong is regarded as a revolutionary model – it brings today’s houses up to 2050 standards of energy efficiency and the new funding approach ensures the works are affordable. Following Energiesprong’s outstanding success in the Netherlands, where a thousand homes a year are now receiving this high-tech makeover, the concept has been exported to France, Germany, Luxembourg, the USA and now the UK.

Nottingham City Homes has signed the first UK contract, placing an order with Melius Homes for ten retrofits as a pilot, with an option for up to a further 400. The deal follows extensive tenant consultation and a comprehensive competitive tender process to find the right solution provider.

Councillor Dave Liversidge, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability, said: “I am so pleased that these ten households are looking forward to a much warmer Christmas and to paying much lower energy bills in the new year.

“Many of our residents live in fuel poverty so creating more energy efficient homes to reduce people’s energy bills is a high priority for us.  We’re very excited that Nottingham is at the forefront of this revolutionary approach, which can help tackle both fuel poverty and climate change.”

David Adams, Technical Director of Melius Homes, the successful bidder said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work with Nottingham City Homes to deliver this ground-breaking contract.  They have shown great foresight in adopting such a radical new approach. It’s been a really busy few months and it’s great to see all the innovation coming together, the homes looking great and performing and the positive impact on the lives of the people who live in them.”

Nottingham City Homes Chief Executive, Nick Murphy, said: “We’re delighted to be part of a UK-first pilot programme, but more importantly we are creating warmer, more energy efficient homes, which are cheaper to run for residents.

“The Greener HousiNG programme is dedicated to finding the most efficient and reliable solutions, to help us future-proof our housing stock and tackle issues such as fuel poverty. As an added bonus the improvements will greatly improve the look and feel of the area.”

This pilot is part of a cluster of smart city solutions being delivered in Nottingham over a three year period under the European-funded REMOURBAN project. This project seeks to show how sustainability can be integrated into the regeneration of our towns and cities.