Double Awards Shortlisting for Council Net Zero Projects

Published: 28th May 2024

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Two environmentally friendly building projects from Team Lincolnshire Ambassador North Kesteven District Council have been shortlisted for the Unlock Net Zero awards.

The Unlock Net Zero awards are designed to champion progress in housing and the built environment on the journey to decarbonisation, in which environmental impacts from buildings are reduced or eliminated. 
In the Building or Development of the Year – Commercial category, the council’s Sleaford Moor Enterprise Park has been shortlisted, while in the Green Homes Upgrade of the Year – Central and East of England category the council has been recognised alongside partners Equans for retrofitting of council homes. 
Both of these projects were conceived and undertaken with a view to advancing the council’s aim for its operations to be net zero by 2030, and to support tenants by making it easier and cheaper to heat and run their homes and business premises. 
Sleaford Moor Enterprise Park is designed to provide a low-carbon home for growing businesses of various sizes and includes planet-friendly features such as solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.  
All the units so far completed have achieved energy efficiency ratings of A or higher following a fabric-first approach. The site even takes wildlife into consideration, providing extensive trees and planting to benefit biodiversity.  
Phase one of the scheme was completed in late 2023. Eight of the 15 units in phase one are already fully let and occupied by businesses. Three of the remaining units are under offer and undergoing all the final legal preparations before businesses can move in, and the remaining four units are either the subject of ongoing discussions or are continuing to generate enquiries. 
The council’s retrofitting project sees the lowest EPC-rated homes in the council’s portfolio being prioritised for green upgrades such as improved insulation, new heating systems, air source heat pumps and solar panels. 
The first wave of the 600 initial properties to be treated has been completed with partner Equans which is a recognised leader in this field. Tenants in these properties are already reporting noticeable reductions in their energy usage, as well as increased comfort and health benefits. 
The council’s long-term aim is to raise EPC ratings across the portfolio to minimum C, which helps save each household on average £1,200 per year, ensuring an estimated carbon reduction of 2.56 tonnes of CO2 per year each. Overall, the project to retrofit the first 200 properties should save 512 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to that captured annually by a hectare of 100-year-old woodland or by taking 304 cars off the road per year. 
North Kesteven District Council Leader Councillor Richard Wright said: “Being shortlisted for these awards places us amongst the top organisations working to achieve net zero in the built environment. It’s something we put a great deal of effort into, both for the environmental benefits and the immediate improvements felt by tenants, both domestic and commercial. 
“It’s gratifying to have this work recognised and to have the opportunity to share our progress. We acknowledge that there’s a long way to go to achieve our goal of net zero for North Kesteven, but this demonstrates that it is possible, and we are making strides in the right direction. 
“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the council colleagues, and our partners, who have helped us get this far, and also to remind private homeowners and renters that they can start a retrofitting journey too by contacting our partners Yes Energy.” 
The awards, which run as part of the Housing 2024 conference in Manchester, are set to be announced in June.