Moving to a park home can be a dream retirement for many people – an affordable way of downsizing to a friendly and attractive location. It’s estimated that around 160,000 people live in park homes in England.
But it can also have challenges, and one of these is keeping warm in the winter. Age UK has been contacted by a number of older residents of park homes in connection with our warm homes campaign.
I just want to mention the millions of forgotten elderly throughout the country who live in Park Homes where cavity wall and loft insulation do not apply. No one considers them!
I live in a Park Home and we, as a group of older people, have even greater problems… My winter bills are in excess for £140 per month. We would just like some help to make our homes more energy efficient.
Many park homes are expensive to heat in winter because they are off the gas grid, rely on utilities supplied by the site owner, and (especially older properties) may be poorly insulated.
The Government is putting great store by its plans to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. And they are right that this is the best way to help people save money and keep warm.
Park homes can be effectively insulated by adding external wall cladding and roof insulation. But at the moment it is difficult for residents to access any of the current national schemes to help fund energy efficiency improvements.
They can’t get finance under the Green Deal because the required Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is currently not available for park homes – because they are not classified as buildings. A further barrier is that Green Deal finance is repaid through the energy bill – and many park home residents don’t get their energy direct from the supplier.
They could seek ECO (Energy Company Obligation) funding under the ‘carbon saving obligation’ which is intended as a top-up to ensure that measures such as solid wall insulation meet the ‘golden rule’ for the Green Deal (that repayments will be less than energy savings made) – but because they can’t access the Green Deal for the reasons set out above, this is not an option.
Alternatively they could seek ECO funding under the ‘affordable warmth’ element. However this is intended to focus on low cost measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation. The energy companies, who are responsible for delivering the obligation, may consider that park homes are not a cost effective option.
So – for people living in park homes, sorely in need of additional energy efficiency measures, there is a tangle of barriers to getting more help.
Age UK wants to hear from park home residents about their experiences – good or bad – of keeping warm last winter and of any barriers they have experienced to improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
Please encourage anyone you know who lives in a park home to fill in our short survey – it only takes about five minutes. The survey is also available as a PDF document which can be printed and returned by freepost: please contact us to request this.
We will be raising these concerns with the Department for Energy and Climate Change and asking them to cut through the barriers and make it as easy as possible for park home residents to get help to make their homes warmer.