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Tens of thousands of Cumbria residents have benefitted from energy efficiency schemes

A new report from the Association for the Conservation of Energy has highlighted the work that has been done in Penrith and the Border to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the region.

The report indicates that tens of thousands of local residents have benefited from projects in recent years to improve thermal wall insulation and upgrade boilers. The result has been more affordable heating bills and healthier homes - and the news has been welcomed by charities like Age UK Carlisle and Eden and Cold to Cosy Homes. 

In recent years, national schemes, along with dedicated local businesses and charities, have helped to improve the efficiency of homes in the area. Work has included the insulation of 8,000 lofts and 6,000 cavity walls. Some 6,000 efficient boilers have also been installed. Benefits have included a decrease in health problems associated with cold homes, as well as the creation of skilled local jobs and more money being spent in local shops and businesses, instead of the money going towards fuel bills.

However, much more still needs to be done. According to the report, homes in Penrith and the Border are three times more likely to be inefficient as those elsewhere in the country - and households in the region spend an estimated $73 million on their fuel bills each year. It also says that there is a huge untapped potential for delivering improvements to the many residents who have not yet upgraded their properties.

The report also warns that changes to national efficiency schemes mean that funding is now harder to get hold of, and around three-quarters of all homes in the region need to be improved in order to bring them up to the standards of a new home.

Commenting on the report, Hazel Collingwood, health and wellbeing coordinator for Eden at Age UK Carlisle and Eden, explained how important this work is for the health of local residents.

"Having a warm home is an important factor when we assess an older person’s wellbeing. Even small changes, such as excluding draughts, can make a huge difference," she said.