Soha Housing has just completed a comprehensive upgrade programme to improve heating in its least energy-efficient properties.

The Oxfordshire housing assocation offered 127 homes with a SAP rating of 55 or lower a new heating system: gas, if the supply was available, or more efficient electrical radiators.

The systems installed were the Quantum space heater from Dimplex and Vaillant Eco Tec pure models 612-630 gas boilers.

The average SAP rating across the properties before the works was 47 and the new average has risen to 67.

More than a third of the households upgraded responded to a survey asking them to assess the difference the new heating would make. 57% said they were already enjoying better value for money - £100 a quarter in one case - with Economy 7; others were pleased with the more consistent and controllable warmth. 63% said they no longer needed to supplement their heating with other devices such as a fan heater. Some who were living with gas for the first time were able to identify an improvement in breathing or other chest conditions.

“No more running out of hot water at bath time for my little girls”, commented one tenant, who had gas installed for the first time. Another, whose storage heaters were replaced with, as she described them, ‘much nicer-looking’ electric radiators, appreciated that she could programme them for her return from work.