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UK street finds comfort from green heating

A heating makeover in a London street has cut its CO2 emissions by 60%.
UK street finds comfort from green heating
Biomass boilers, solar-powered hot water and heat-recovery ventilation units are among the green technologies introduced to a street of 14 houses and six flats in London's oldest housing co-operative.

Residents of Sanford Housing Co-op in New Cross decided to do something about their ageing heating systems and chose to meet their hot water and heating needs with solar thermal for summer and biomass boilers (run on wood waste pellets) for use in the winter. 

The South London residents plan to cut their carbon emissions by 80% before 2020, well ahead of government target of 60% by 2050.

The residents are at the helm of the decision-making process and their heating choices have meant that for the first time a UK street has been kitted out with green technologies that will exceed 2050 carbon reduction targets.

Following a feasibility study by the Bristol-based Centre for Sustainability, which recommended a biomass district heating system, residents considered this system too expensive and opted for biomass boilers instead. Boiler cupboards by each house with silos to each pair of houses were put in to enable each boiler to supply a hot water cylinder to two houses. The boilers, made by Italian firm Mescoli, were fitted by Bio-energy Technology.

The solar thermal installation was installed to do the same thing and hot water can be supplied to both houses at the same time. The existing heating distribution system has been overhauled and flushed out to ensure that the new technologies can work as effectively as possible.

Vent-Axia's heat-recovery ventilation units were installed by VB Construction in the co-op's bathrooms and kitchens. They will retrieve as much as 85% of heat from air drawn out of the buildings to heat new air being brought into them.

Improved loft and cavity wall insulation was installed by Chessington-based firm Millford Group. It was introduced with the help of project manager J3 Building Futures, based in London.

Larger thermostatically-controlled roof windows have been fitted to increase daylight penetration and ensure adequate ventilation and night cooling. When the temperature goes up to a certain level, the windows open automatically.

Monitors have been installed to keep track of energy use and the amount of heat produced by the solar and biomass technologies.

By the end of February 2008, the street's gas boilers had been replaced with seven biomass boilers and 14 large solar thermal arrays.

Having saved £500,000 in rent surplus over a period of ten years, the Co-op also made use of a £48,000 Energy Savings Trust grant to pay for the heat recovery ventilation units and green training for tenants. A further £30,000 from EST's low carbon buildings programme was spent on the solar hot water system and a £25,000 grant from EDF Energy helped pay for the boilers. The whole project cost £600,000.

Sanford is the oldest housing co-op in London and was founded in the 1974. Sanford Walk is situated near New Cross train station and New Cross Gate station. About 129 tenants live in the 14 shared houses (8-10 people in each) and six bedsits that form Sanford Housing co-op. Tenants pay £50 a week inclusive of bills to rent a room in a shared house.

Mark Langford of CDS cooperative, which manages Sanford's housing needs, said 'We are proud of Sanford's unique sense of community, cheap rent and living conditions. We wanted to introduce as much renewable technology as possible to the street. The last of the green technology was the biomass boilers which were fitted last month. The new technologies have already cut our emissions by 60% and we are on target to achieve 80%'.
5 March 2008


By ex-member
05 March 2008 00:01:00
Why oh why, boast about bio-mass
heating when it hardly works.
The wood comes from France in small olastic bags by truck. Hardly green is it?
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