More Sunderland homes to get solar energy and new boilers

Solar panels being installed.

Solar panels being installed.

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A PILOT energy-efficiency scheme aimed at refurbishing draughty homes is to be extended in Sunderland.

Social housing firm Gentoo is widening its Energy Saving Bundle (ESB) programme, which has allowed customers in Low Ford to instal new boilers, double glazing and solar panels with no up-front costs, to include Hendon and Thorney Close.

The company hopes that by improving the energy efficiency of homes and introducing technologies, such as solar PV (photovoltaic) panels, it is helping families save money on their heating bills while protecting them against rising energy prices and “fuel poverty” in the future.

ESB works, which are being overseen by Gentoo Green and carried out by Gentoo Construction, are under way in Low Ford and will be complete in Hendon and Thorney Close in the coming months.

Sally Hancox, director of Gentoo Green, said: “We recently conducted a poll using 600 Gentoo customers called the Green Debate with the aim to gain insight into attitudes around paying for energy efficiency improvements through a weekly charge.

“It found that 84 per cent of customers asked would be prepared to pay for improvements and of those, 45 per cent said they would pay more than £5 a week for measures such as photovoltaic panels, efficient boilers and double glazing.”

Customers eligible for the ESB scheme, one of only five Government-backed pilot initiatives across the country, can receive a new boiler and double-glazed windows for 16p each per week and state-of-the-art Solar PV for £1 per week.

Gentoo teamed up with British Gas to allow customers to pay the energy supplier directly for the work carried out by Gentoo, as well as their household bills, to simplify payments.

Ms Hancox said: “We are delighted to announce the news of our latest partnership as we are keen to deliver warmer homes for our customers.

“With rising fuel prices and ever increasing energy bills, we understand that customers need help to save money.”

One Gentoo customer, of Felstead Square, Low Ford, said: “We’re over the moon with the energy efficiency works Gentoo have installed to our property.

“We’ve got a new boiler, double glazed windows and Solar PV on our roof.

“Our house is now much warmer and more comfortable to live in, and we’ve seen approximately a 30 per cent reduction in our energy bills too.”

For details about ESB, visit www.gentoogroup.com or call 525 5000.