Retrofit programmes at the City of York Council

Through Better Homes the council has delivered an energy efficient demonstration house, Government Central Heating Fund, Leeds City Region Fuel Poverty scheme, Leeds City Region Warm Homes Fund scheme, and discretionary grants for boiler replacements.

Private Sector Housing

Historically the council worked with Ryedale Energy Conservation Group and The Energy Partnership, later combined to become Yorkshire Energy Partnership (YEP), to deliver energy efficiency and tariff switching advice, and the installation of energy efficiency measures, however the changing funding landscape from around 2014 led to the closure of this organisation in 2016. Association with YEP ended in 2014 following an external wall insulation scheme funded by the national Energy Company Obligation (ECO) fund. The council delivered over 3,500 boiler replacements, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation measures during the early 2000s through to 2014.

The combined energy efficiency improvements to homes between 2006 and 2015 are summarised below.




Cavity wall insulation


Loft Insulation


Solid Wall Insulation


Boiler replacement


central heating


Solar PV


Tang Hall loft/cavity


Total measures



In 2015 the council contracted to be part of Better Homes Yorkshire along with the other nine Leeds City Region Authorities. Better Homes Yorkshire provides a vetted supply chain for householders to purchase energy efficiency measures, and to deliver grant and loan schemes for the council. It also offers an appropriately procured framework for the purchase of energy efficiency measures in the council’s own homes. Through Better Homes the council has delivered an energy efficient demonstration house, Government Central Heating Fund, Leeds City Region Fuel Poverty scheme, Leeds City Region Warm Homes Fund scheme, and discretionary grants for boiler replacements.

Central Heating Fund



Leeds City Region LEP Fuel Poverty Scheme: cavity wall, loft, solid wall insulation; boiler replacements



Warm Homes Fund: first time gas central heating



Discretionary Adaptation Grant: boiler replacements







The council has issued a Statement of Intent (SoI) regarding Flexible Eligibility Criteria for ECO funding. This enables residents who do not meet the national criteria (receipt of a listed income related benefit) to access ECO funding. The SoI restricts qualifying works to those carried out through Better Homes Yorkshire. Energy suppliers are limited to spending a maximum of 25% of their national ECO requirement on flexible ECO recipients.

Social Housing

The council has undertaken a programme of insulation of its own housing over the past twenty years or more providing loft and cavity wall insulation where the opportunity has been identified and tenants have been willing. This has resulted in most properties having reasonable levels of loft insulation and most cavity walls being insulated. There has also been some insulation work to multi-storey properties such as those on Lowther Terrace and Lowther Street.

The boiler replacement programme continues to install more efficient boilers to council homes and communal area lighting is being changed to LED technology.

The Energy Efficiency rating of the stock has recently been assessed at 70.6, showing that most homes have relatively high energy efficiency. This is the result of a long term cavity and loft insulation programme coupled with double glazing, double glazing upgrades, boiler replacements, and air source heat pump installations.

Since 2012 the following improvements have been undertaken:

  • 1,223 Households have benefitted from 2nd generation double glazing
  • 1,640 Households have benefitted from loft insulation
  • 1,841 Households have benefited from cavity wall insulation
  • 1,781 Households have had new higher energy efficient external doors fitted
  • 53 Households have had highly energy efficient air source heat pumps systems fitted; the council is set to receive £64k in renewable heat incentive payments over the next three years for the 29 installed through Better Homes Yorkshire in 2017/18
  • 16 Non-traditional construction Airey homes have been totally refurbished including the replacement of pre-cast concrete panelled wall with traditional brick/block insulated cavity walls, new windows doors, and roofs. These properties are notoriously hard to heat in their unimproved form
  • 541 homes have benefited from solar panels, and continue to do so.

Private Rented Sector

Staff in our private rented sector team have maintained contacts with private sector landlords throughout Covid urging them to negotiate with tenants regarding rent arrears and to be as supportive as possible. Work has continued on the licensing of houses in multiple occupation and preparatory work has been started on the options for consultation on the extension of HMO licensing.

A £100k government grant is being used to tackle cold homes in the private rented sector and enforce the Minimum Energy Efficiency standards (MEES) to tackle the worst performing end of the Private Rented Sector (PRS). Two officers have been employed for a year to use a draft toolkit to tackle homes with Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of an F or G.

Work is ongoing look at how we can secure funding to retrofit private sector (Homeowners and PRS) homes to tackle fuel poverty, reduce carbon and tackle climate change.

Energy efficiency and retrofit

The council’s Energy Efficiency Officer (a jointly funded post with Selby, Ryedale and Craven) continues to support residents who are eligible for funding support to improve energy efficiency in their homes. Until recently funding programmes have been very limited to specific criteria and circumstances, but recently the Government has started bringing forward a number of funding programmes aimed at making significant improvements to the energy efficiency of existing housing stock – both to help us meet our Climate Emergency targets and to create new jobs and stimulate the economy in the face of recession. The council is working on a number of different retrofit programmes and funding bids with the aim of developing an energy efficiency retrofit culture in York.

Current retrofitting schemes

We are currently delivering one relatively small scale project 75 first time gas central heating schemes with associated insulation to private and social homes.

We have been lobbying for new funding and have recently been granted some new funding streams. The funding streams are called LAD 1b and LAD 2 (LAD standing local authority delivery and sits alongside the national green homes grant voucher scheme) –Fabulous opportunities to do some larger scale retrofit. However, the only major down side is the time scale for delivery with a very stretched supply chains (standing start to full throttle). We have fed this back to the Energy Hubs, who in turn have advised BEIS, however, it seems it is the Treasury who are saying we need to deliver the schemes by the end of Sept (LAD 1b) and December (LAD 2) respectively.

We are currently in the process of pulling together a proposal for LAD 1b and awaiting for more information about the application process for LAD 2.