Weaver Vale Housing Trust, Northwich - SME (Property Management)

Weaver Vale Housing Trust in Northwich has saved £95,900 to date with free support from ENWORKS, as part of an ongoing drive to improve its environmental performance and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Trust’s vision is to transform neighbourhoods and improve the quality of life of residents, whilst minimising the environmental impact of its operations at the same time. This summer it celebrated its tenth anniversary of providing social housing in Cheshire.

For the last few years, Weaver Vale has benefited from specialist support from resource efficiency advisers based at Groundwork Cheshire, with funding from the ENWORKS programme.
 
The organisation has already implemented a number of recommendations, resulting in annual savings of £52,700 and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) savings of over 160 tonnes a year. The cost savings are also accruing, year-on-year, with savings of £95,900 so far.
 
Fuel and electricity
 
The support has so far concentrated on addressing the rising costs of electricity, gas and diesel and reducing emissions from energy consumption.
 
The Trust operates a fleet of maintenance and customer contact vehicles and on Groundwork’s advice, its drivers have undertaken training in more fuel efficient driving techniques. As a result, annual fuel costs have fallen by £34,100 and 81 tonnes of CO2e are being saved per year.
 
Electricity consumption has been reduced by replacing 50 Watt (W) spotlights with more efficient, 5W LED lights, and by ensuring that staff switch off office equipment when it is not in use. This has generated annual savings of £10,100 and 61 tonnes of CO2e.
 
Gas and renewables
 
Heating bills have also been addressed by installing a building management system to automatically control heating in line with fluctuating factors such as outside temperature and occupancy levels. This ensures that the heating is only on when it is required and that it remains at an optimum temperature.
 
The heating project required some initial investment but all costs will be recouped in a few years and the system will reduce annual gas consumption by 72,100 kiloWatt-hours (kWh), saving more than 13 tonnes of CO2e a year.
 
Most recently, Weaver Vale Housing Trust installed a 20kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of its head office. The panels will generate 16,000 kWh of electricity each year and, through the Government’s Feed-in Tariff incentive for renewable energy generation, will bring annual savings of £6,500 and eight tonnes of CO2e.
 
Looking ahead
 
To ensure continual improvements in fuel efficiency, Weaver Vale Housing Trust has recently fitted advanced telematics to its vehicle fleet. This system will now be used to plan work schedules and track driving performance. It is hoped that this will reduce the number of miles travelled by drivers and provide data to further improve fuel efficiency, going forward.
 
The organisation is also focusing on tackling fuel poverty. Over 100 homes are already benefiting from solar thermal heating and now the Trust is working on improving the overall energy efficiency of its housing stock.
 
‘Financial benefits’
 
Joyce Johnson, Weaver Vale’s customer contact support officer, said: “We enlisted the help of Groundwork Cheshire to advise us on money saving initiatives, to reduce our energy consumption and fuel bills at our Gadbrook Park headquarters.
 
“Over a period of a year or so, we have undertaken the work Groundwork recommended, as part of the ENWORKS programme, and we are already seeing the financial benefits.
 
“Weaver Vale Housing Trust and all its staff are committed to environmental improvement and hopefully these energy savings have contributed towards a greener future.”
 
Case study published on 3 October 2012