GHA cuts carbon footprint

GHA cuts carbon footprint and helps tenants save money on their fuel bills

Glasgow Housing Association is fitting solar panels in 500 homes across the city - to help tenants save on their fuel bills and to protect the planet.

The solar panels are designed to reduce the carbon footprint of each home and also provide free electricity during the day for its residents.

Tenants would benefit from free electricity use during daylight hours - saving them around £100 a year on their bills.

The installation of the solar panels is one way GHA is contributing to Sustainable Glasgow - a partnership which aims to make Glasgow one of the most sustainable cities in Europe and reduce the city's CO2 emissions by 30 per cent by 2020.

Each GHA house fitted with solar panels could cut 24 tonnes of CO2 emissions over a 25-year period - equivalent to filling five hot air balloons or five Olympic swimming pools.

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, said: "At a time when many people across Scotland are struggling to heat their homes, this innovative initiative by GHA is to be welcomed. It is good news for the people of Glasgow.??
Work is due to start soon with the 500th home completed by March next year.

Alex McGuire, GHA's Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, said: "Tenants have told us they are worried about the cost of rising fuel bills. The solar panels will not only cut their electricity bills but will also play a key part in helping reduce the city's CO2 emissions.

"By investing in energy efficient homes and renewable energy we are helping our tenants, the social housing sector and the whole of the city.??

The first phase will see panels fitted on south-facing roofs of existing semi-detached and terraced homes. Tenants will be asked whether they want to take part in the scheme before any panels are installed.

Those tenants who agree to sign up will receive a visit from GHA's Fuel Advisors and be shown how to make the most of the free electricity generated during daylight hours which can be offset against their electricity costs.

Any electricity used at night, or during adverse weather conditions when the panels will be not be generating, will be billed as normal.

The UK Government launched a renewable energy scheme in 2009 to increase the uptake of green technology. As part of this, feed-in tariffs were introduced which reward customers for generating electricity.

Any surplus income generated by the feed-in tariffs in the GHA properties will be reinvested in GHA homes.

The Scottish Government is investing millions in energy efficiency improvements in Scotland's housing stock. During a statement in Parliament this week, Alex Neil announced that funding for fuel poverty and energy efficiency programmes will increase to £66.25m by 2015 - a 35 per cent rise.

GHA is committed to helping tenants reduce fuel poverty. In total, 800,000 households throughout Scotland are estimated to be in fuel poverty.