Environment matters

environment

Our approach

Great Places works hard to reduce the environmental impact of its communities. We reviewed our Environmental Strategy in 2016–18 and have set clear and ambitious targets for the year ahead.

As part of this we are looking to update as many homes as we can to a set energy performance standard and are improving the physical fabric of our homes by installing insulation, replacing doors and windows and upgrading heating systems.

What we do

We help our customers to run their homes in an energy efficient way. So we offer all Great Places customers home energy visits, personalised by our energy advisor and detailing actions the customer can take to reduce energy/water costs.

Great Places was one of the first organisations in the North West to implement a large scale solar panel programme and our environmental team works with customers to make sure they understand how to gain the greatest benefit from this generated electricity. More than 900 homes now have solar panels, each one generating an income of over £150 per year. Claiming the Feed-In-Tariff allows us to receive an annual income which can be reinvested in the organisation.

The energy network is constantly evolving and we have been investigating the possibility of using battery storage to help meet customers' needs in future. To look into the long-term benefits, Great Places received funding to install battery storage to some of our homes with solar panels. At the end of the first six months the battery storage was estimated to be saving customers almost £100 per year.

Environmental education

We all have to take responsibility for environmental improvements and at Great Places we are educating employees about the part they can play in reducing waste and emissions.

We are rolling out a new Carbon Literacy training package to all of our teams, to ensure staff know what they can do to reduce their impacts and how they can make a difference. The training covers everything an employee needs to know about climate change and the impact it is having on work and home life.

Great Places are now a leading provider of Carbon Literacy training to external businesses too, providing bespoke training to a range of organisations. So far, feedback has been fantastic with participants confirming the course is “inspiring”, “excellent” and “makes you want to take action”.

We are expanding this consultancy role. In addition to the training for businesses we are now able to offer a Community Carbon Literacy course which can be held almost anywhere. This meets the needs of local residents and volunteers, assisting with skills support and ensuring participants are more engaged in environmental issues.

To find out more about our Carbon Literacy training and how it might help your organisation contact Great Places' Environmental Manager, Sarah McClelland, on sarah.mcclelland@greatplaces.org.uk