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Andy Street, Mayor for the West Midlands, visits social home with Switchee

March 7, 2024

To recognise innovation efforts being made in the affordable housing sector.

07 March 2024: On Wednesday 28 February, Andy Street, Mayor for the West Midlands, visited a post-war prefab social home installed with a Switchee smart device, to see firsthand the investment being made to Birmingham City Council (BCC) homes and the positive impact they’re having on the residents living in them - even in older properties with poor energy performance.

Leading data and insights company, Switchee, has a wealth of data at its fingertips thanks to its smart device, already installed in hundreds of thousands of social homes across the UK. They have been selected for the digitalisation element of the scheme with Birmingham City Council, in partnership with Equans, after successfully securing £24.8m of government funding.

As the largest local authority social housing provider in England, with 60,000 homes, the project aims to deliver retrofit works to approx. 2,000 properties across Birmingham, enhancing their energy efficiency to meet or exceed an EPC band C. Switchee have already installed devices in 199 of these homes, with a total of 300 to be installed by April 2024. The learnings from this scheme will then be applied at a wider scale to inform future initiatives improving the living conditions of residents in social homes in the West Midlands and beyond.

Andy Street, Mayor for the West Midlands, said: “One really important aspect is the deployment of the latest technology. I am very pleased to say that from our current investment in quality, £15 million has been distributed between the seven local authorities. One of the innovations we are looking at is the Switchee device, which allows us to get more, for less expenditure, on behalf of the residents and I'm pleased to say the trial is already part of our overall programme".

Andy Street visits a Birmingham City Council resident

Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, said: “Improving and renovating the city's existing housing stock is Birmingham City Council's number one housing priority. We are investing a record £5bn in our housing stock over the next 30 years to ensure our tenants and leaseholders can live in warm, safe, and sustainable homes.”

“As part of that work programme, the council is retrofitting 2,076 homes across the city to help make more homes energy efficient, reduce tenants' bills, and keep homes warm. We are also using Social Housing Decarbonisation Funding to deliver a pilot to install 300 Switchee devices with our partner Equans. This pilot will give us valuable feedback to drive better understanding of the performance of our stock that will help to future-proof more homes as we work towards achieving Net Zero. Switchee acts as a smart control, allowing our residents to control their heating and hot water via an app.”

“Birmingham City Council is pleased to be working in partnership with Equans and Switchee to address the challenges we face around energy efficiency, fuel poverty, damp and mould, and decarbonisation.”

Steve Batty, Director of Sustainability at Equans said: “We were delighted to welcome Andy to see the work Equans is doing to make hundreds of Birmingham City Council’s homes warmer, more efficient, and cheaper to heat for residents. This project is the largest of its kind in the UK, which gives us the opportunity to trial a range of retrofit solutions – from individual measures, through to whole-house transformations. Partnering with Switchee is a vital part of assessing the success of this work, allowing us to see which approach works best for different property types, informing future retrofit programmes, and leading to the best possible results for residents.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands with Tom Robins (CEO, Switchee) and the Equans team

To learn more about how Switchee is helping housing associations and local authorities manage their properties, communicate with their residents and remotely protect their assets, contact our team today.

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