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24 February 2004

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High-tech energy-saving homes on view


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Housing professionals will be given an insight into latest energy-efficient construction techniques when Peterborough-based Nene Housing Society holds a professional open day at its latest £1 million showpiece development at Hampton Hargate, a flagship new town in Peterborough, on Wednesday 9 April.

The homes at Hampton Hargate have been equipped with photovoltaic roof tiles that convert sunlight into electricity under a £235,000 pilot project part-funded by the Department of Trade and Industry and supported by British Gas, which operates the gas fired Peterborough Power Station.

The DTI funding was secured with help from Encluster, the environmental industries support initiative run by the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UK CEED), which is also based in Peterborough. It is calculated the photovoltaic cells will produce around 21,860 kilowatt hours of clean, free electricity for residents.

All the properties are constructed using an ‘Amphion’ timber-frame system that provides high standards of energy efficiency and is expected to achieve an exceptional ‘EcoHomes’ rating.

In addition, the seven, two-bedroom, four-person bungalows forming part of the development have been built to ‘lifetime homes’ standards, making it easy to install adaptations to help disabled people. The other nine properties are three-bedroom semi-detached houses suitable for families of five people.

The properties will be allocated to people in housing need nominated by Peterborough City Council with the first residents expected to move in next month (April).

“This development is a showpiece of latest energy-efficient technologies and we want to share the knowledge with other housing professionals,” said Nene chief executive Mark Rogers.

“The properties fitted with photovoltaic tiles are officially registered as mini power stations because they can export excess electricity to the national grid and import power at times of peak usage. It is calculated that household electricity bills will be reduced by between one-third and one-half compared with normal houses.”

Phil Sheppard from UK CEED added: “With the help of government grants and more widespread use, photovoltaic tiles are now a viable option for electricity generation for most residential properties. Hopefully this development will encourage other house builders to adopt the technology.”

Diana Montgomery from British Gas, said: “Our involvement as a key energy supplier can hopefully raise awareness of progressive projects such as this which will lead to similar programmes elsewhere. While it is still early stages, British Gas is keen to do what it can to show how renewable energy projects can bring real benefit.”

The houses have been built on land donated by O+H Hampton as part of a package of contributions required to secure planning permission for the township. All house builders at Hampton must conform to high standards of development to meet planning controls.

The photovoltaic tiles were installed by solarcentury, whose chief executive Jeremy Leggett said: “The sun provides clean, cheap energy that is emission free, helping to combat the problems of global warming and climate change. If every roof in the UK was fitted with solar tiles the need for traditional power stations would disappear and we would produce more power than we use.”

  • Invitations to the open day are being issued to architects, planners and representatives from construction companies, local authorities and housing associations. Any housing professionals who would like to attend should contact Helen Fortune at Nene Housing Society on 01733 295400.

March 2003

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