Social housing tenants will save energy, slash their fuel bills and reduce their impact on the environment after Wigan Council became the first in the UK to install a pioneering device made from recycled materials.
Windowsills in council properties across the borough will be fitted with Thermocill, an eco-friendly device designed to enable a room to heat up quicker and, at the same time, reduce energy use.
News about the introduction came as forward-thinking Wigan Council celebrated its first Go Green Fest in the run up to UN climate change conference COP26.
The device, which is independently verified by the Energy Saving Trust, is set to be installed in 2,000 homes every year and will assist the forward-thinking council in reaching its goal to be net carbon neutral by 2035.
Wigan Council has taken delivery of its first batch of the innovative product from Thermocill Limited, based in Altrincham, and said the benefits made it a “no-brainer”.
Paul Barton, Director of Environment at Wigan Council, said: “It was important for us to find a solution that would help us work towards our carbon reduction targets, while also bringing benefits to our tenants.
“Thermocill was a really good fit for us and our tenants, bringing the potential to reduce a tenant’s heating bill by 8%, which is significant given the pending rises in energy costs. There are huge benefits to the fabric of the property, the environment and the individual tenant so we feel it’s a no-brainer for us.”
About 2,000 of Wigan Council’s 22,000 houses become vacant every year. Thermocill, which is made from recycled materials, will be fitted in these properties as part of usual refurbishment work carried out before new tenants move in.
The device, which is passive, requiring no input from the householder, is fitted beneath any windowsill located above a radiator and designed to create a wall of warm air in front of the window.
The wall of warm air created by the Thermocill reduces both the amount of cold air entering the house and the amount of warm air leaking out via the windows, warming up a room 19% quicker. Reducing condensation and moisture on windows means less damp and improved air quality, safeguarding the health of residents and protecting the condition of the property.
Thermocill is working with Wigan Council to train its inhouse teams in fitting the device, which will be installed in every window situated above a radiator. The council is also exploring a link-up with Wigan and Leigh College to potentially incorporate the training into its existing apprenticeships.
Paul said: “The many benefits of Thermocill, the fact that it is made of recycled materials and the lack of disruption to the tenant when balanced with the affordability of the product really impressed us. Although we are starting with 2,000 homes in the first year, we’d like to see it installed in every one of our properties — that’s our aspiration.
“We’re a very pro-active council that has prioritised addressing the effects of climate change and Thermocill is a welcome boost to us ultimately achieving our targets.”
Keith Rimmer, Inventor, Founder and Chief Executive of Thermocill, said the partnership with Wigan Council was a key step in Thermocill’s journey and a recognition of the benefits.
Thermocill is scientifically proven by the scientists and engineers at Salford Energy House and University of Manchester.
Keith said: “We are delighted to announce our work with Wigan Council, which will see thousands of people benefit from warmer homes for lower energy costs. We have worked closely with the council to deliver this landmark order, which will contribute to the Wigan borough fulfilling its climate change strategy.
“We are now interested in linking up with other councils to help them explore the benefits of installing Thermocill in their properties.”
Wigan Council’s Go Green Fest, which took place from the 11th to 15 October, is an online festival highlighting the council’s progress and actions taken by businesses and residents across the Borough to help tackle climate change.
Header image shows L-R Dave Lyon (Assistant Director for Environment, Wigan Council), Paul Barton (Director for Environment, Wigan Council), Angie Brabbs (Scheme Manager, The Rowans), Keith Rimmer (Inventor, Founder and Chief Executive, Thermocill), Councillor Susan Gambles (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing, Wigan Council).