Two housing blocks have been transformed into some of the most eco-friendly homes in Preston.
Sandown Court has dominated the city skyline since the flats were built in the 1960s.
But construction methods at the time did not factor in the need to conserve energy, with uninsulated concrete wall panels, single glazing and electric heating making them extremely inefficient energy-wise and very expensive to heat.
The blocks are privately owned, but Preston Council became aware many residents were on low incomes, suffering from fuel poverty and struggling to heat their homes because most of the heat leaked out into the atmosphere.
However, neither the council nor residents were able to raise the finances, so the scheme was put out to potential funders and Scottish and Southern Energy made a successful proposal. The energy efficiency project has now received national recognition at the annual APSE awards.
Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment, said: “Our private sector housing team have an impressive track record of bringing in funding to the city to improve the energy efficiency of private houses, with more than £10 million of work completed in the last two years.
“Contributions were not required from the residents, who now occupy warm, damp free flats and substantially smaller utility bills. Maintenance costs for the blocks have reduced sharply and the biomass boilers attract revenue back for the residents in the form of the Government’s Feed-in Tariff.
“The blocks are now virtually carbon neutral and are saving over 900 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.”