North of England contractor, Esh Construction, has outlined its commitment to helping registered housing providers decarbonise their housing stock with the launch of a brand-new retrofit solutions division.

Esh Retrofit Solutions will specialise in delivering essential works to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes and enable providers to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) banding of C and above across its portfolio – a government requirement for all social housing by 2030.

Retrofitting measures focus on a fabric first approach and can include window and door upgrades, installation of secondary glazing, internal or external wall insulation, loft, underfloor or cavity wall insulation. Following these works, focus will move to the installation of decarbonisation measures such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar photovoltaic panels.

The new division will be overseen by Head of Retrofit Solutions, Lisa Stafford, who will build on 27 years’ experience in the construction industry.

Lisa said: “The development of our specialist retrofit division has been long in the making and has taken extensive work from everyone involved. We are delighted to mark this significant milestone for Esh with the official launch.

“We are a TrustMark-accredited contractor and have acquired the knowledge and processes of the PAS2030 and PAS2035 standards as part of the accreditation process, both of which are required by the Government to be an eligible installer.

“We will build on our extensive experience of working with housing associations and local authorities to refurbish and upgrade homes for more than two-decades by working collaboratively with our clients to improve living conditions for tenants while meeting the Government’s energy efficiency and decarbonisation targets.”

Esh Retrofit Solutions is set to offer an all-inclusive approach to retrofit delivery, starting with initial assessment, to design and then installation, all of which will be supported by a full retrofit coordination service and a PAS2030-accredited supply chain. The division will be strengthened by the expertise of Esh’s established refurbishment team, which is headed up by Operations Director, Colin Ford.

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) was announced by the Government in 2019 in a bid to improve the energy performance of social rented homes and support the UK’s target to reach net zero by 2050. A further £800 million was earmarked for the SHDF ‘Wave 2’ fund within the 2021 spending review and successful applicants will be announced early in 2023.

Andy Radcliffe, Chief Executive of Queen’s Award-winning firm, Esh Group, commented: “Unveiling Esh Retrofit Solutions is a key part of our business strategy, firstly to ensure we continue to meet the evolving needs of our clients and the wider industry, and secondly as we take steps within our business toward a more sustainable future.

“The Government has outlined several key drivers behind improving the energy performance of social rented homes – arguably the most pressing issue tenants face right now is the rising cost of energy bills and combatting the number of households in fuel poverty in the long term can only happen if their homes become more energy efficient.

“We are a privately-owned, local contractor with a strong financial position, this, combined with our extensive knowledge and experience gained through our delivery of social housing refurbishment projects, gives us solid foundations to develop our new division and importantly, support our clients and their tenants through the whole retrofit process.”