Oxford City Council has begun a £7 million retrofit project to transform homes and improve lives.

The council has appointed VINCI Facilities and Oxford Direct Services (ODS) to work on a £7 million project to retrofit more than 300 social homes in the city.  

VINCI Facilities has started work on 216 homes, and ODS will work on the remaining 100. 

This is the council’s largest retrofit project to date.  

READ MORE: Autumn 2024 Oxford traffic filter trials explained

The project, described as "exciting and ambitious", is part-funded by the government's Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) and aims to improve the energy efficiency of 316 social homes with an EPC (energy performance certificate) of D or below, and the wellbeing of tenants.  

It will focus on retrofitting energy efficiency features to existing buildings, including loft and wall insulation, draught-proofing, and window upgrades.  

The improvements will create warmer, healthier, and more sustainable homes, the council has said.

Expected benefits could include an increase in comfort as homes will be warmer especially during colder months, lower energy consumption and smaller carbon footprints, contributing to a cleaner and greener Oxford and helping the council meet its carbon targets.

Other benefits could include better-ventilated homes, which can help to reduce respiratory issues and improve overall health, particularly for vulnerable residents, the creation of local job opportunities and a boost to the green economy, and benefiting the wider Oxford community. 

The council has a target of getting an average of 95 per cent of its 8,000 council homes to an EPC C or above by 2030. 

READ MORE: New bus service will link rural communities with Bicester

Oxford City Council currently has around 2,000 council homes with an EPC D or below and achieving the 95 per cent target will require substantial investment. Independent consultants estimate this could cost up to £152 million in total. 

Councillor Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing and communities, said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve reached this milestone and am excited to see the work begin and then homes start to feel the benefits.  

Oxford Mail: Councillor Linda Smith Councillor Linda Smith (Image: Oxford Mail)“This project is a significant step towards a more sustainable Oxford.

"However, we know on its own, it is not enough to get us to our target of bringing 95 per cent of council homes up to EPC C by 2030.  

“We will need significant, sustained government funding to achieve the target and will continue to pursue this.”   

Oxford City Council is the democratically-elected local authority for Oxford.

In partnership with others they provide a wide range of services, including planning, housing, community centres, parks and waste collection, for approximately 152,000 residents, 106,000 people who work in Oxford and the millions of people who visit Oxford every year.