Salford's Affordable Warmth Scheme (2009)Greater Manchester, England

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“The HeatSeakers scheme has been highly successful. It has surpassed the target we had set it to install no-cost and low-cost measures in areas of the city which have high levels of deprivation. An important part of Salford’s HeatSeekers scheme was to encourage residents to take advantage of home insulation which was available at no-cost or low-cost to the
householder via the energy companies Carbon Emission Reduction Target grants. Salford’s scheme encouraged 356 households to fund their own measures. In addition a further  197 households qualified for free measures which were funded by CERT”.

- Councillor Peter Connor, Salford City Council’s Lead member for Housing.

The Challenge

To identify and provide insulation to poorly insulated private sector homes with an emphasis on wards and neighbourhoods which have been identified as having the highest levels of fuel poverty.

The Action

Salford City Council was one of the first Local Authorities to sign up to the HeatSeekers project and the first in the North West.

Salford were keen to specifically target private sector households at risk of fuel poverty. They identified the following groups for free home insulation: Low income families in receipt of Working Families and Child Tax Credit & Householders aged between 60 to 69

The HeatSeeker concept is a revolutionary private homes scheme which offers a fully managed end-to-end service utilising state of-the-art thermal imaging technology to identify properties which would benefit from insulation.

The scheme and has created a great amount of interest and excitement across the country within local authorities with now over 80 local authorities signed up.

HeatSeekers were tasked to carry out thermal imaging across the city of Salford between November 2008 until March 2009, to identify properties highlighting heat loss through their lofts or cavities. The HeatSeeker vehicle is capable of scanning up to 1,000 properties an hour by automatically detecting and determining the insulation condition of a property. The vehicle surveyed around Salford between 8pm and midnight, in order to obtain accurate images,  when it is dark and when the heating is on.

The Result

Once the properties had been scanned, a dedicated team of Energy Advisers visited homes around Salford, showing householders the results of the scan and advising how the householders could take action to reduce both energy bills and carbon footprint. Free no obligation surveys were then carried out to assess property suitability.

The HeatSeeker team identified 3,739 properties that appeared to require improvements of which 1,495 properties had measures installed. One HeatSeekers vehicle was used to complete all of the thermal scans.

The Savings so far

Using Energy Saving Trust guideline figures (July 09) this could amount to a total of £187,920 worth of savings on  the energy bills of their properties, and 998 tonnes of CO2  avoided every year from now onwards.