A NEW £3.9million Wearside project is pioneering environmentally friendly ways to fight the cold.
Nearly 100 properties in Glebe, Washington, are now being heated from a central boiler that can use gas or be fired by wood pellets (biomass) as part of the scheme.
All the properties have also been upgraded and refitted with the latest energy conservation measures to help them keep warm, reducing energy costs and reducing their carbon footprint.
The bungalows involved were previously heated by electric night storage heaters, with hot water provided through an electric immersion tank.
The project secured a £1.94million grant from the European Regional Development Fund, plus additional investment from Gentoo Group and Sunderland City Council.
Gentoo customer Joan Leonard, who lives in one of the upgraded homes in Roche Court, said: “We feel a big difference since the work has been done,” she said. The house is holding the heat better and it’s not as draughty. We’ve even had to swap from our winter quilt to our summer one.”
Gentoo Group commissioned the design and installation of the communal energy centre and district heating network, powered by biomass – such as wood chippings – and gas to provide the heat and hot water to the 97 properties.
John Turner, deputy director of Gentoo Property Services, said: “Through redesigning these properties, we are significantly improving their thermal efficiency while at the same time improving their overall appearance.
“This creative and innovative solution demonstrates how a range of sustainable energy solutions can be retrofitted to homes to improve the comfort and financial position of customers.”