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Eco warmth scheme in Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 11:22 23 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:06 03 July 2010

Nine homes in villages around Great Yarmouth have become the first to benefit from a £1m pilot study in the east of England looking at

hi-tech solutions to tackling fuel poverty.

Nine homes in villages around Great Yarmouth have become the first to benefit from a £1m pilot study in the east of England looking at

hi-tech solutions to tackling fuel poverty.

The local authority homes, managed by Great Yarmouth Community Housing, have all been fitted with Mitsubishi Electric's Ecodan air-source heat pump.

The award-winning system generates heat by drawing in air from the atmosphere and compressing it.

It can help to reduce fuel bills by up to 30pc and carbon emissions by up to half compared with a modern gas condensing boiler.

For added efficiency, the

properties have been fitted with solar thermal technology to provide up to 60pc of the residents' hot water needs.

Launching the project yesterday at the new Yarmouth eco-centre of the Dodd Group of heating engineers - which has done the installations - Yarmouth MP Tony Wright hailed the technology as the way forward for cutting fuel poverty, especially in rural areas where homes were not connected to gas.

The study is looking at the savings that can be achieved on homes of varying sizes.

It has been funded by Renewables East, a government-sponsored body promoting renewable energy in the region.

Carole Randall, of the company, said: “Renewables East has been awarded £1m from the Department of Energy to look at using renewable energy as the answer to fuel

poverty.

“As well as installing the new technology, we will also be

looking to see if homes have the right insulation in place and checking other aspects, such as the behaviour of residents concerning energy

use.”

She said that, as well as cutting household expenses and reducing the carbon footprint, the growth of the technology had huge potential for creating jobs.

Steve Webster, renewables contract manager for the Dodd Group, said the company's expansion into a new

£250,000 eco-centre on the Gapton Hall industrial estate at Yarmouth - formally opened yesterday by Mr Wright - had been prompted by

rapid growth in the renewables side of the business. Although the complete installation of an air-source heat pump system might cost £7,500, compared with £4,000 for a gas

central heating system, the huge savings would quickly recoup the difference, he added.

The Yarmouth branch of the national company employs 47 engineers, but Mr Webster said it planned to create new jobs and offer training to long-term unemployed people.

Pensioner George Bird, of Ormesby, who has had the storage heaters in his three-bedroom semi replaced by an Ecodan unit, said it was a weight off his mind.

“My wife and I are both retired, so the cost of running the house can be quite a challenge, especially in the winter months,” he said.


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