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August 2007

EMAP Green Week

Green developments for London tenants
Two London based social housing providers are planning greener homes for their tenants. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has given the go-ahead to plans by Swan Housing Group to build a £30 million, 25storey eco tower in Blackwall Way, and Harrow Council say they intend to have the most solar thermal installations in London within... more    back to top

See what developments are planned for your doorstep
A newly launched online map highlights the location of over one hundred new developments that could be forced through if the Government gets its way over changes to the planning system. The interactive map was developed by The Planning Disaster Coalition and includes information on new nuclear power stations, incinerators and... more
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Walsh's green building project finished on time
Tommy Walsh's ambitious programme to buy a plot of land for £60,000 and build an eco friendly house on it for £60,000 in 60 days has been completed - the two bedroom property located near St Wendreda's Church... more    back to top

Green centre for Welsh wetland
A wildlife centre in the heart of Barry is looking to the future in more ways than one. Dow Corning’s Cadoxton Ponds Education Centre aims to service a wildlife haven for schools and the local community. And the centre has been built to capture the sunlight. It will provide its own heating and electricity through ground source heat... more   
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Roundhouse refused planning yet again
Tony Wrench and Jane Faith's roundhouse at Brithdir Mawr, is again under threat. The Pembrokeshire dwelling has been refused retrospective planning permission on the grounds that it “failed to make a positive environmental impact”. Despite fighting the planning authorities for 10 years, and despite the apparently pioneering decision last... more 
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Grant scheme linked to Energy
Performance Certificates

A new scheme which aims to help homebuyers get grants to lower their fuel bills and make their homes greener has been launched to coincide with the introduction of Home Information Packs and Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). Many people will be elegible for grants of £100 to £300 towards the cost of loft and cavity wall insulation, and from next year the scheme will be extended allowing more home buyers to benefit.

Measures recommended in the EPC could save the average consumer £300 a year off their fuel bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Running alongside the introduction of the long awaited Energy Performance Certificates - which will give a home energy rating - the grants are intended to encourage consumers to make the improvements recommended in the certificates.

Following consultation with the government, the six major energy companies have agreed that when buyers move into their home and sign up to an energy contract they will get immediate access and information about 'green' grants or offers to consumers.

As part of the scheme, there is a new portal on the Energy Saving Trust's website where home owners only need to tap in their postcode to find details of offers available. Once fully rolled out it is estimated that the energy certificates could lead to improvements saving nearly a million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020.

The grants are funded by energy suppliers and other partners, with their investment increasing to £2.5 billion over the next three years from April 2008, compared to £1 billion over the last three years.

EPCs have been introduced as part of Home Information Packs, which initially will only be required for the buying and selling of houses with four bedrooms or more. The certificates will give consumers energy ratings for homes of A-G, similar to consumer friendly fridge ratings.

Most estate agents say they will offer a HIP for around £300 to £350 plus VAT - £200 to £250 of which is already paid for in the current system. Some will be offering them for free or as part of their ordinary fees.

The introduction of HIPs is already leading to search prices coming down for consumers, with nearly fifty local authorities having already reduced what they charge consumers for searches, in some cases by more than £100. Increased competition and transparency as result of HIPs is expected to reduce costs further.

The Government will monitor HIPs closely to ensure the benefits are being passed on to the consumer, with a new consumer panel being set up as part of a wider programme of action to make the home buying and selling process work in the interests of consumers.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said: "Energy certificates have the potential to cut family fuel bills by hundreds of pounds. But it can still be a real hassle getting the work done. Most people don't know these grants are available or don't know how to apply for them.

"This scheme means it should be much easier for homebuyers to get help to cut their fuel bills and carbon emissions too. It could save hundreds of pounds on insulation and hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills too."

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: "Our Green Barometer shows that more than half of people want tailored advice on energy saving. Energy Performance Certificates will make it easier for people to identify the simple things they can do in their home to reduce their energy consumption. More people will be reached now that energy companies are being proactive in providing information to householders on grants available to them."

Friends of the Earth campaigner Dave Timms said: "We're delighted that Energy Performance Certificates are finally up and running. EPCs will give homeowners information which, if they act on it, will help them tackle climate change and save money on home energy bills."  

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Work starts on Ecos Homes' second development
Work on five new eco-homes in a Sedgemoor village has now started, aiming to show planners, builders and developers the use of energy efficient design and sustainable technologies. Ecos Homes will be building the houses at the brown field site in Stawell to meet the code for sustainable homes' level five, and will be built so that no... more   back to top

Project aims to reduce household energy use
Loughborough University is playing a key role in a new £0.57 million project aimed at significantly reducing the amount of energy consumed by UK households. The indeedNET (Integration and Demonstration of Energy Efficient Dwelling Networks) project will focus on the development of a high tech wireless home energy management system... more     back to top 

Big expensive eco development gets planning
A pioneering £3million eco-friendly development has been earmarked for Warwickshire and when complete will be a UK first. The Sustainable Building Centre (SBC) project managed by Birmingham-based construction company Edmond Shipway, will take pride of place at Wolseley UK's 18-acre headquarters site at Spa Park in Leamington... more    back to top

East Devon plans prototype eco town
A new community planned for Cranbrook in East Devon could be a prototype for the 'Eco-towns' proposed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The local authority is aiming for a high standard of sustainability and renewable energy usage on a green-field site with its own railway station... more   back to top



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