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The BIG Energy Upgrade launched in Sheffield by the Rt Hon Chris Huhne

An innovative project, which is set to install low carbon measures in houses in some of the most deprived areas in Yorkshire and Humber, was launched on Thursday 29 September 2011 at the University of Sheffield ICOSS centre, by the Rt Hon Chris Huhne, MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

The launch featured a key note address from the Rt Hon Chris Huhne who explained the importance of tackling energy efficiency.

He said: “Energy efficiency is a no brainer because it makes homes warmer and cheaper to run. The Big Energy Upgrade is a great example of different organisations working together to help the most disadvantaged communities in Yorkshire. We want to see more of this collaborative working to help the effectiveness of the Green Deal when it’s launched next year. The new Green Deal will be the biggest home improvement plan since the second world war, helping to insulate people against rising energy prices at no upfront cost.”

The BIG Energy Upgrade takes a `whole house´ approach to energy conservation; UK households identified in ten disadvantaged communities across Yorkshire and the Humber will benefit from a package of measures highly individual for each of the households and will ensure householders achieve the best energy efficiency performance through the measures. The initiative represents a big step forward in the way insulation and micro generation are integrated and will make a huge difference to deprived communities.

The project is being led by Kirklees Council and partners include six local authorities, four Arms Length Management Housing Organisations, two Registered Social Landlords across Yorkshire and the Humber, Yorkshire Energy Services along with University of Sheffield, who will monitor the performance of the installed measures; look at behavioural issues linked with energy consumption; support the supply chain associated with the programme and monitor energy consumption in some of the households.

The University of Sheffield´s Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett, said: “We´re delighted to be working in partnership with regional local authorities on this flagship project which we´re supporting through a multi-disciplinary team including architecture, supply-chain, digital technology, civil engineers and psychology. This allows understanding of the problem as a whole: the building, the new energy technologies, and importantly the human behaviour.

“The University´s strength of partnership with our region is rarely more important than in a project of this nature that is piloting solutions to the integrated challenges of carbon emissions, economic growth, and fuel poverty.”

Professor Lenny Koh, Director of the Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainability and Associate Dean at the University of Sheffield’s Management School, is the Principle Investigator of The Big Energy Upgrade project said: “This project brings together the University’s cross cutting team from energy and environment, using a truly multi-disciplinary approach to tackle these important energy challenges in society. We look forward to working closely with the local authorities and other partners in pioneering this low carbon direction.”

Big energy upgrade partners

The project will run until March 2014 and will act as a catalyst in attracting further funding towards energy efficiency projects, which in turn will create more demand for materials and skills in the area of retrofitting and micro generation. As well as creating 114 new jobs, it will also help to prepare the region, in terms of knowledge and experience, for the delivery of a new area-based `whole house` approach to be delivered as part of the Government´s Green Deal post 2012.

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