A SHADOW cabinet minister came to Wearside to see how residents are going green to heat their homes and save money on their bills.
Labour’s Luciana Berger MP was at Gentoo’s Cherry Tree Gardens development in Hutton Rise, Houghton.
She met residents living in award-winning energy efficient PassivHaus homes at the site.
The houses have features such as solar panels, and air flow in and out of the properties is controlled to regulate temperatures.
Ms Berger, shadow minister for energy and climate change and also MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said: “I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to come to Sunderland and see first-hand the work Gentoo is doing.
“It’s a responsible housing association which is making a tangible difference to people’s lives.
“I’ve been speaking to a couple here today whose electricity bill for three months is just £91, which is fantastic when you are hearing of households spending an average of £1,400 per year on their bills.
“And anything that can help people to live in a warmer home is great.
“It is making a huge difference to people’s quality of life.”
Gentoo is looking at whether improving homes has an impact on life expectancy.
The study is being carried out in partnership with Nottingham City Homes and Bangor University, in Wales.
The research project is expected to last three years.
Gentoo chief executive Peter Walls said: “Today’s visit has been a great opportunity to demonstrate the innovative ways Gentoo Group is working with other organisations to do the right thing for people around the country.
“We have the chance to significantly improve people’s lives, through warmer homes, potentially improving people’s health and wellbeing.
“We pride ourselves at looking towards the future and coming up with new ways of working, and sharing our vision with Ms Berger has been extremely beneficial.”