An additional 300 homes across Coventry and Solihull are to be retrofitted with super-efficient insulation and low-carbon heating technology.

The move is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) plans to tackle climate change.

Homes in Elmdon, Solihull, and Foleshill, Coventry, handpicked by their local councils, are the first two areas to be chosen to receive part of the £19 million Sustainable Warmth Competition funding secured by the Midlands Energy Hub from government last year.

The homes will undergo a ‘deep retrofit’ using cutting-edge insulation with options for solar panels and low-carbon heating systems.

Each home will be individually assessed to ensure the most effective action is taken, with extra measures such as external insulation of the property and the installation of new energy sources also being made available.

A total of £2.86m will be invested in the 300 homes by the WMCA. There are also plans to help another 1,700 old and cold homes across public funded retrofit programmes, as the region seeks to ramp up action to tackle climate change, reduce fuel poverty and support its #WM2041 ambition to be net zero within the next 20 years.

The WMCA Sustainable Warmth Competition project will be taking a whole area approach to retrofit rather than just individual houses – engaging local residents to support them in taking up retrofit opportunities.

This ties in with the WMCA’s Net Zero Neighbourhood programme, announced by Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, at COP26 last year, which looks at how a whole place approach to retrofit and other solutions can help accelerate the transition to Net Zero.

The Net Zero Neighbourhood programme has been supported by more than £2m from the WMCA, with a goal of securing major private sector investment alongside partnerships with local authorities in the region.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to be allocating this first round of funding to homes in Elmdon and Foleshill. Working with our partners in Solihull and Coventry, we’ve identified 300 homes most in need of this work – not just to reduce carbon emissions but help people face the challenges of rising fuel bills.

“Government investment of this kind is absolutely vital if we are going to hit our targets for retrofitting homes, and this neighbourhood approach to both the Sustainable Warmth Competition funding and our Net Zero Neighbourhood demonstrators, working with our local authority partners, will make sure we deliver on the ground.”

Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio lead for environment, energy and HS2 and leader of Solihull Council, added: “We know that nearly 40% of the region’s carbon emissions come from heating and powering our homes.

“So the news that 150 homes in Solihull, alongside 150 in Coventry, will benefit from energy saving insulation is to be welcomed, particularly with gas and electric energy costs soaring. Seeing 300 homes becoming more energy efficient is great news,both for the households concerned and the planet.

“Switching to clean, electric transport and making our homes more energy efficient are the two things we can do at a domestic level and will have a huge impact on our CO2 emissions.

“The £2.8m the WMCA secured through the government’s Sustainable Warmth Competition is encouraging, but it should only be seen as the start.  We need to move as quickly as possible towards more environmentally friendly housing that can both save on energy, and help tackle fuel poverty, now and in the future. All of this will also reduce our carbon emissions and help meet our bold and ambitious target for a net zero region by 2041.”