Case study

ERDF Social Housing Energy Management

Photovoltaic systemPhotovoltaic system

North East England has the highest levels of fuel poverty in the UK. As a result, Narec has formed a project consortium with South Tyneside Homes and Homes for Northumberland to undertake thermal energy efficiency improvements in over 300 socially rented hard-to-treat (off-gas or non traditional construction) properties. The consortium has received £1.9m investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

As Project Manager, Narec is responsible for delivering the following:

  • Management of cash flows and outputs, project claims and payments;
  • Facilitation of joint procurement activity;
  • Product testing and monitoring;
  • Dissemination of project outcomes;
  • SME engagement;
  • Delivery of capacity building and skills activity with SMEs.

Outline & objectives

Low carbon, renewable and innovative systems will be retrofitted into selected properties and the impacts of the interventions monitored and analysed, covering both technological and social impacts.

Project Objectives
The housing energy improvement scheme will deliver housing improvements to address fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and provide important research in the area of new technologies on hard to treat properties.

The project will also benefit over 80 SMEs in NE England by helping them expand or diversify their business to take advantage of the new opportunities in the area of low carbon and renewable energy.

  • To assess, test and monitor the installation, performance and utilisation of low carbon, innovative energy products in socially rented properties;
  • To improve the flow of knowledge between low carbon projects in the region and industry;
  • To build capacity in the region’s microgeneration SME base (and those with the potential to diversify into the sector);
  • To remediate fuel poverty in socially rented properties.
Partner Properties Technologies
South Tyneside Homes
  • 3 high-rise blocks of flats in Jarrow, Tyne & Wear
  • 136 Tarran Newland Houses in Marsden, South Shields
  • Combined heat & power
  • Photovoltaics
  • Solid wall insulation
  • Lighting High efficiency boilers
Homes for Northumberland
  • 54 houses in Blyth, Northumberland
  • Smart meters
  • Solid wall insulation
  • Lighting
  • Secondary heat exchange


The use and testing of the technologies will enable the following:

  • Improvements in the technologies;
  • Improvement to the quality of life for the residents;
  • Greater knowledge within the sector of how best to apply low carbon products in socially rented environments;
  • Reductions in carbon emissions and fuel poverty.

SME support

In parallel with the retrofit improvement scheme this project will deliver a programme of SME support for those active or with the potential to diversify into the microgeneration and low carbon technology market. Support for SMEs includes both business wide and individual skills development and knowledge transfer assistance wrapped within a tailor-made programme of support to meet the needs of the SME.

Bespoke programme of SME support covers:

  • Understanding of new technologies and their application;
  • Skills development (installer training and market insight courses);
  • Business development and diversification support;
  • Knowledge transfer (information seminars and specialist surgeries).

Further information

The project will make a significant improvement to the energy efficiency of NE homes and help the tenants to make substantial energy savings.

Project completion date is November 2013 with project outcomes expected to include:

  • Retrofit of low carbon products in over 300 properties;
  • Reduction of fuel poverty for residents in over 300 properties;
  • SME assistance to improve skills development and performance;
  • Jobs created and safeguarded.

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