Work starts on site at Orbit’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator

Orbit welcomed representatives from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to mark the start of retrofitting works at its site in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, and to showcase its plans as part of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator (SHDFD).

Orbit is working with Stratford-on-Avon District Council to upgrade 69 properties across the Stratford District rating as part of the government’s SHDF Demonstrator, a UK-wide scheme which will upgrade around 2,000 social homes currently EPC rating D or below using a whole house retrofit approach.

Cllr Jo Barker, Stratford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Health and Well-being, supported the event. Councillor Barker commented: “I am delighted that our partnership with Orbit has helped secure this investment, and we look forward to the benefits that this project will bring.  I think it is great news that we have secured not only this project, but there will also be other projects that will benefit Orbit’s customers and the environment.”

Following the success of the initial Demonstrator phase, Orbit has secured a further £1.4m funding from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy as part of the SHDF Wave 1 funding. The SHDF is a £3.8Bn Government commitment over a 10-year period to improve the energy performance of socially rented homes.

An additional 70 Orbit properties will be upgraded in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, and the works in Stratford will be extended to a further 66 properties. Alongside the Government funding, Orbit is investing £4.6m into the project to help better understand the scale of the challenge ahead and explore the impact of selected sustainable technologies in a retrofit application.

Ted Pearce, Director of Strategic Asset Management at Orbit, commented: “We are excited to mark the start of our retrofitting works in the Stratford area and showcase our plans to the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy who are supporting us with the project. Demonstrating how we scale up the work and drive efficiencies are both key project criterion set by BEIS, which we are seeking to address.

“These works will help us on our journey to becoming a net zero carbon organisation and provide a greater understanding of the impact of these works on our customers so we can best support them through the decarbonisation of their homes. As a result, the learnings from the project will allow our customers to enjoy the benefits of a more energy efficient home which is warmer and more affordable, as well as being better ventilated and cooler in the summer months.”