ECO+ Consortium to road test funding for RSLs

11th June, 2013

A consortium has launched to help social landlords make the best use of government energy efficiency subsidies.

The Eco+ Consortium is led by contractor Lakehouse, and aims to test the best ways for social landlords to tap into funding under the energy company obligation and its sister policy, the green deal. Under ECO, all the large energy companies are expected to invest about £1.3 billion a year to meet stringent targets for domestic energy efficiency.

The other consortium members are: the Energy Saving Trust, Savills, Marksman Consulting, TLC Solicitors, architect HTA and consultant Sustainable Homes.

Eco+ will focus on London, which had poor uptake of funding under the precursors to ECO, the community energy saving programme and carbon emissions reduction target. But it is also in discussions over possible projects nationwide, including Edinburgh.

Simon Green, head of sustainability at Lakehouse, said: ‘We’re working with a number of leading London local authorities and some of the very large housing associations.’

Eco+ launches at a time when a number of social landlords have already started to secure ECO funding directly from energy companies. And last November, the 62,000-home landlord Places for People launched a subsidiary called Green Services Hub, also aimed at packaging up energy efficiency work for other social landlords.

But Mr Green said the consortium’s benefits were in bringing together experts from different fields, and in combining ECO work with renovations due to be carried out, for example under the decent homes programme.

Some landlords are already looking to integrate ECO into planned work. Victoria Moore, head of sustainability at the Guinness Partnership, said: ‘This is obviously requiring us to rethink and reshuffle some of our planned maintenance works but will be most beneficial for us in the long run.’

Mr Green wasn’t yet able to name any of the social landlords considering using the consortium. However, he said that within the next few months it will carry out ‘exemplar’ projects, on the scale of a block of flats, meant to demonstrate the benefits of ECO and what the consortium can add.

‘I’d expect to do projects of substantial scale within six months,’ he added.

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