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Homes show way for green living

PUBLISHED: 09:04 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:15 03 July 2010

IT MAY not look it but this construction site of new homes is at the centre of an innovative experiment to see if people can cut their power bills and help save the planet by using green technology.

IT MAY not look it but this construction site of new homes is at the centre of an innovative experiment to see if people can cut their power bills and help save the planet by using green technology.

From the outside they may look like modern stylish homes but a closer inspection reveals that they are crammed full of eco-friendly, energy-saving devices which all new houses have to have from 2016.

And by measuring the power usage of the 15 homes at Lingwood, near Yarmouth, it is hoped that a blueprint will be created for the construction of all future properties across Norfolk and help cut ever rising household bills by up to 50pc.

The affordable homes, built out of wood, each contain a different green piece of technology, from rainwater harvesters, solar water heaters, ground source heat pumps, condensing boilers and sun panels and traps.

At the end of the month the homes will be handed over to local people and then for the next year their bills and power usage will be closely monitored by scientists from UEA through an internet connection to each home.

The information gathered will then be used to see which type of green technology saves the most in electricity and gas consumption - and therefore lower dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

It is thought that the innovative green watch scheme, which is predicted to slash between 20 to 50pc off power bills, is the first of its kind in the region and once the data is analysed by UEA the best eco-friendly practices could be recommended for future developments across Norfolk.

Jane Powell, UEA lecturer in energy management policy who is monitoring the homes, said: “It will be interesting to see which type of eco-friendly home saves the most energy and, in the light of government plans for all new homes to be carbon neutral from 2016, it will provide valuable information.

“I am tremendously excited about this project and it will have a huge influence on the construction of future homes.”

The project has been four years in the pipeline and soon young families from Lingwood will be moving into the North Norfolk Housing Trust-owned two or three-bedroom homes, which were built by the Flagship Housing Group as part of its GreenGauge home initiative.

Eleven of the homes will be rented out and the other four are being offered as shared ownership, from £125,000 to £150,000, to help ease a housing crisis in the village.

It is also hoped that the occupiers of the European Larch tree-clad homes will be inspired to take up other practical green methods, such as recycling, composting and walking instead of taking the car on unnecessary journeys.

Shirley Peters, the Broadland district and parish councillor who started the scheme, said: “I think these homes are just superb and are certainly the pathway forward for how all homes should be built.”

The homes were designed by Ipswich architects Barefoot & Gilles and Youngs Homes have been working on the properties for the last year.

Funding and support for the homes and the energy monitoring scheme was also provided by the Housing Corporation, Lingwood Parish, Broadland District and Norfolk County Councils and Carbon Connections.

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