Improving energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty – Harold Wilson Court

Content owner : Last updated : 02/10/2015

What was the need and how was it identified?

Following an agreed business development opportunity between Kirklees Council and Tesco, KNH was left with an 11 story block of flats in great need of redevelopment and upgrade. We recognised at the outset that it would be more expensive to demolish this block than to refurbish and upgrade, so the Investment Team set about an ambitious plan to make massive improvements to the lives of our tenants and to reduce fuel poverty.

The bedsits at the back of the flats were notoriously difficult to let and we recognised the importance of consulting with the existing tenants to find out what other concerns they had. These included:

  • The flats were cold and difficult to keep warm and comfortable
  • Lack of security and feeling unsafe
  • Unwelcoming and very noisy due to traffic
  • Disliked the layout of the bedsits with one room for lounge/bedroom

The Investment Team worked in partnership with Clugston Construction Ltd, Watson Batty architects and Kirklees Council to completely remodel the individual flats and introduce a range of efficiency measures. However the challenge for KNH was meeting the highest possible efficiency standards based on best practice 'PossivHaus'

What difference have we made?

The block of flats, re-named Harold Wilson Court, has been completely remodelled and a range of energy efficient products installed including:

  • Energy efficient boilers and panel heaters
  • LED lighting, triple glazed windows and thermal insulation inside and out
  • Solar panels on the roof providing electricity for communal lighting and lifts (no communal charges)
  • CCTV in lifts and corners of the building
  • Better locking system that can be monitored to ensure our tenants are safe in their homes
Harold winson court
Harold winson court new

Harold Wilson Court - before the renovation and after

Harold winson court with KNH

Former leader of Kirklees Council, Mehboob Khan, with Jacky Thomas and Diane Sisson from KNH

What outcomes were achieved for tenants?

The reduction in fuel costs has been significant which is greatly helping us to reduce fuel poverty for our tenants. The tenants report that the flats are more welcoming, safe and comfortable. The team's efforts in holding pre-tenancy workshops and introducing local letting plans giving priority to people in work or training has added to the community integration within the flats.

We have a diverse range of tenants including older people, young people and a group of Kurdish residents who worked with us as interpreters during the process. In addition KNH was successful at a recent National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) event in July and won an award for "managing energy efficiency and fuel poverty".

What factors were key to our success?

  • Having the courage and determination to embrace a very innovative project in a renovation project which is much more common in new builds.
  • Working in partnership with Clugston Construction, Watson Batty and Kirklees Council

What will happen next?

We will continue to introduce innovating energy efficiency product at every opportunity to improve our properties and reduce fuel poverty for our tenants.

This has won a national award for 'managing energy efficiency and fuel poverty,' and we have received enquiries from other organisations wanting to find out more about the pioneering project.

What objectives does the project contribute to?

Kirklees Council - To ensure every family has a safe and secure place to live


  • Challenge poverty and debt; challenge ourselves to do more
  • Quality homes; quality partnerships to improve health & wellbeing
  • Quality homes; quality partnerships to improve health & wellbeing

Social Housing Equality Framework

  • 3.1, The organisation has good quality information on the equality profile and needs
  • 3.3 The organisation and partners work together
  • 3.10 The organisation can demonstrate that contract management/commissioned /
  • 3.11 There is an improvement in the participation rates of under-represented groups in governance and resident involvement of our customers
  • 3.14 the organisation involves its service users
  • 3.17 the organisation can show that these projects are delivering on equality objectives and contributing to business objectives

Customer Service Excellence

  • 1.1.2 We have developed customer insight about our customer groups to better understand their needs and preferences.
  • 1.3.5 We have made positive changes to services as a result of analysing customer experience, including improved customer journeys.
  • 2.1.1 There is corporate commitment to putting the customer at the heart of service delivery and leaders in our organisation actively support this and advocate for customers.