Homes can be healthier for you, your wallet and the planet

Malcolm Bell

With Christmas approaching many of us are looking forward to our seasonal holiday breaks, but some of us are worrying about how we will keep our homes warm this winter and pay our bills without falling into debt.

Most of us spend more than half our time in our homes, and a cold home can have a big impact on both our physical and mental health, especially for young children and older residents.  The World Health Organisation estimated that 40% of excess winter deaths in the UK and Ireland could be attributed to inadequate housing conditions.  There is also a strong link between a cold home and damp and mould.

Improving energy efficiency

Over 17,000 Croydon households are in fuel poverty. It is a real tragedy so many families are suffering, especially as there is grant funding available for low income households to insulate their homes and fund energy efficient heating systems through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Croydon Council launched Croydon Healthy Homes in 2018 to help residents access this grant funding.  We can provide an independent energy advisor to visit people in their homes to:

  • provide advice on how to use heating systems in an energy efficient way saving money without needing to turn down the thermostat;
  • support people to apply for ECO funding for energy improvements;
  • offer tips to reduce energy use in the home and fit free energy saving measures such as LED light bulbs, radiator reflective panels, and draft proofing.

Cheaper energy tariffs

The government regulator OFGEM estimates that 60% of domestic energy customers are on Standard Variable Tariffs for their gas and electricity – these are tariffs you get automatically if you don’t switch tariffs every year. Even with the price caps the government has introduced, these households could be paying up to £200 more each year.

As well as suggesting ways to reduce your energy use, Croydon Healthy Homes can help you save money by finding better energy tariffs. The service is currently only open to home owners and people renting from a private landlord, but we plan to open it up to council and housing association tenants next summer.

Need advice?

If you are a council or housing association tenant who needs energy advice, South East London Community Energy are running Energy Cafes in New Addington every Tuesday until March. Everyone is welcome, you will find them at:

  • Fieldway Family Centre – 10am – 1pm
  • New Addington Pathfinders (at the Octagon) – 2pm – 5pm

If you’re doing everything you can but are still struggling to heat your home and pay your bills, please seek professional support.

For more information about Croydon Healthy Homes, the Energy Cafes, and other support available to Croydon residents visit the council’s energy advice page.

Malcolm Bell

Malcolm Bell

Energy Officer, Croydon Council

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