Insight

Investing in our current homes – greener, warmer & cheaper homes

September 7th 2020

Torus is committed to helping tackle the environmental crisis, while simultaneously providing improved homes for our tenants.

Our ongoing investment to our existing homes to ensure that our customers save money on their bills, tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.

By 2019 we had carried out 43,399 installations in our properties, reducing carbon emissions by 25,095 tons per year.  With tenants being able to save up to *£320,484 a year on their combined energy bills.

In addition to ongoing improvements to homes, we invest in new and innovative solutions to reduce energy usage, lower carbon emissions, reduce energy bills and save our customers money.

Our recent projects

In Liverpool, we are completing an underfloor insulation project, using Q-Bots, robots that spray insulation under floors, with minimal disruption compared to traditional methods. The project, which is funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) is committed to improving 331 properties over the next year.

We are currently in the process of retrofitting outdated heating systems in several of our Independent Living Schemes, investing £500,000 in each scheme to ensure that our older and vulnerable customers can keep the heat on, at a reduced cost. Each scheme of around 40 units, has had a full heating refurbishment, replacing existing systems with new modern ‘District Heating’ type installation, incorporating individual ‘heat control interfaces’ in each home, giving our tenants more control over their homes.

We are committed to replacing a minimum of 600 heating systems and boilers each year, across our three heartlands, replacing them before they need replacing or repairing, to both make it more efficient for our customers and reduce maintenance costs. Replacing out-dated systems with A’Rated, market-leading Vaillant boilers.

Working in partnership with contractors Scottish Southern Electric (SSE), we are currently running a £45,000 pilot project at Bernard Wood Sheltered Scheme in Billinge, to install a new ‘Building Management System’ to manage the heating both to the communal spaces and individual tenant’s flats, with the aims to reduce energy use within the building and heating bills for the tenants.  If successful, we will look to roll to a further six schemes.

As part of an international partnership with Ground Heat and Heliotherm Austria, we removed old storage heaters in four blocks of nine apartments on Delph Lane, Whiston. With no mains gas supply, the heating and hot water for the individual flats in the four separate blocks were supplied by electric heaters. This was inefficient and expensive for tenants, generating annual bills in excess of £900. Torus was keen to introduce new heating technology that would overcome the lack of mains gas supply and address these rising fuel costs. A new heating system was installed powered by a ground source heat pump which in turn is powered by photovoltaic cells and battery storage systems. This is a unique integration of common renewable technology that creates an increase in an efficiency of 420%, reducing bills dramatically for the tenants as well as reducing carbon emissions.

Carl Talbot-Davies, Torus Group Head of Assets & Compliance, said:

“Social housing needs to be energy efficient and fit for the future.

“These are just a few examples of how we are working hard to make our energy systems more sustainable with an aim to reduce energy usage, cut waste, drive down greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the cost of energy bills for our customers.

“By investing in our homes and making them better, we can protect the people who live in them from high energy bills and fuel poverty, which is especially beneficial for the high proportion of social tenants who are on low incomes.”

The next big project for Torus is improvement works on the nine-storey Kingsway House in Warrington, which as part of a larger makeover will also receive upgrading insulation and cladding to improve its green credentials.

 

*any savings are dependent on how heating systems are used