A multi-million pound project is underway to make homes across County Durham warmer, greener and cheaper to run.

believe housing is upgrading more than 1,000 properties with a series of measures to make them more energy efficient.

Contractor RE:GEN Group will carry out work such as loft, cavity wall and underfloor insulation along with ventilation, on homes which will benefit most from the measures. Energy efficient lighting and new heating controls could also be installed.

Read more: Echo's Level Up campaign puts people at centre of region's growth

The first properties to receive upgrades, increasing their EPC (energy performance certificate) rating to C, were completed this week (Monday, 11 July 2022) with the wider scheme of works due to be finished before April 2023.

Funding towards the scheme was secured from the first wave of the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF).

A total of £6m funding was awarded to a consortium led by Durham County Council of five housing associations, including believe housing, one of the partners in The Northern Echos' Level Up campaign.

Read more: All of our Level Up stories are here

The biggest share of the SHDF funding, almost £3.4m, went to believe housing which is investing an additional £1.69m in the scheme.

Ruth Dent, Director of Assets and Compliance at believe housing, said: “Securing this funding was a real achievement and it is great to now see the work well underway by RE:GEN Group.

“This scheme will make many of our customers’ homes warmer, more energy efficient, reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills.

“And the timing couldn’t have been better with energy costs expected to rise again this winter."

Brian Bedford, Head of Sustainability at RE:GEN Group, said: “Delivering energy efficient and ventilation measures to 1,000 homes before the end of March is certainly a challenge but displays the determination of both believe housing and RE:GEN Group in reducing carbon emissions.

“The results will not only provide residents with a more comfortable home, it will also help with alleviating the pressures associated with the increased cost of living.”