Ipswich houses going green

GREEN houses are today set to spread across Ipswich.All new developments of more than ten properties in the town could soon be forced to generate some of their own power, according to new rules.

GREEN houses are today set to spread across Ipswich.

All new developments of more than ten properties in the town could soon be forced to generate some of their own power, according to new rules.

This could be through solar power, extracting heat from the ground, using heat exchangers to suck in hot air, using energy efficient boilers to help generate electricity, or in some cases using wind turbines to generate power.

Ipswich Borough Council environment spokeswoman Louise Gooch said the new regulations should be adopted by the council later this year.

She said: “The regulations should go a substantial way towards making houses in the town more energy-efficient.

“This is a policy that has been pioneered in the London Borough of Merton and we would be the first council in Suffolk to introduce these kinds of regulations.”

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Head of environmental services Dr Matthew Ling said: “Using ground heat is a very efficient way of providing heat. Special elements pick up the natural heat in the ground and transfer it to underfloor heating or radiators.

“Then there are solar panels which heat water or panels which can generate electricity. We are working with specialist companies to get these installed in new homes.

“Wind turbines are not really a particularly efficient way of generating power in an urban environment like Ipswich but heat exchangers which operate like a fridge in reverse to transfer the warmth in the outside air into central heating or water heating are very effective.”

Ms Gooch said the new rules were currently being considered by panels of councillors, and could be implemented by the borough later in the year.

N Have you introduced energy-generating devices at home? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

THE Merton Rule was introduced in the London Borough of Merton two years ago and says any substantial developments must generate at least ten per cent of its own power.

Principal environmental officer at Merton council Adrian Hewitt said this had quickly been accepted by developers working in the borough, which includes Wimbledon and Mitcham.

He said: “At first there were concerns, but they quickly started incorporating environmental features into new buildings.

“Wind power really is not on in an urban area like this, but we have been impressed by the extent to which solar water heating and even photo-voltaic (PV) cells have taken off.

“Buildings are being built with better insulation and some PV cells are actually putting power back into the grid.”

Mr Hewitt said the adoption of the new standards had also led to more people in traditional homes looking at ways of installing energy-generating equipment.

“I used to get about one call a year from householders asking about fitting a solar cell or other devices like that. Now we're getting at least one call a week - often more than that,” he said.

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