Hockerton Housing Project launched their new renewable energy systems by holding an event on Saturday 14th September with over 50 guests including locals, promoters and installers of renewable energy systems.
Professor Peter Smith (Sheffield Hallam University), who is Vice President for Sustainable Development(RIBA), was guest speaker at the event. Here is an extract from his speech.
…As I see it, Hockerton symbolizes the ultimate sustainable net zero energy solution in a rural setting…These are the cutting edge and prototypes for the future.
At present housing alone accounts for around 28% of all CO2 emissions in England and Wales. You [at HHP] have demonstrated that housing, far from being part of the problem, can be part of the solution.
In 2002 HHP erected a 5kW wind turbine and installed a 7.65kW array of photovoltaics. The HHP wind turbine is one of very few examples in the UK of a community owned wind turbine, supplying owners directly with ‘clean’ renewable energy.
The HHP development meets a number of the highest environmental housing standards in the UK, namely, Zero CO2 and Autonomous.
Hockerton Housing Project (HHP) has erected a wind turbine to meet its energy needs. It is one of very few examples in the UK of a community owned wind turbine, whereby the owners are supplied directly with the ‘clean’ renewable energy produced. The occupants of houses have set out to meet both personal and global responsibilities to live in a more sustainable way. Wind energy is the most cost-effective and appropriate for the locality. The use of renewable energies in the daily running of the Hockerton Housing Project, demonstrates that ordinary families and individuals can take responsibility for and significantly reduce the output of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
The grid linked 5kW (rated output) Proven wind turbine erected on a 26m tower is expected to produce around 12,000kWhrs annually with the wind conditions on site. The grid link will allow for both import of energy during periods of supply shortfall, and export for periods of excess energy production. The excess exported will offset most of the imported energy from the grid. The energy generated will not only be used to provide energy to the homes, but also to power the jointly own electric car – a wind-powered car!
Due to the very low energy requirements of the homes at HHP (about 10% of an average UK home), it is expected that the energy generated by the wind turbine will offset the vast majority required by the occupants. Any remaining requirements will be met by planned use of Photovoltaics (solar energy). This means that the homes will hopefully not be responsible for any of the polluting ‘greenhouse gases’, notably CO2, identified as being responsible for global warming and climate change. This qualifies the HHP development as meeting a number of the highest environmental housing standards in the UK, namely, Zero CO2 and Autonomous.
HHP was awarded over £10,000 from ScottishPower’s Green Energy Fund towards the cost of installing the wind turbine. Hammy Smillie, ScottishPower’s business and community relations director, said: “Not only will this project be an excellent example of how to make use of renewable energy in the home, it will also give the families the opportunity to contribute towards helping the environment. On a practical level, by using renewable technologies as a power source, the Hockerton Housing Project will save money and set a leading example in the UK.”
The Project was filmed and broadcast in the same week in March by BBC ‘Countryfile’. The programme covered the project set up and how the houses are designed to minimise energy use. However they also focused on two other aspects:
(1) The design principles of the homes at Hockerton Housing Project (HHP) as a potential solution to building more homes to a higher energy efficiency standard. A link was made to a local speculative development, Millenium Green, that HHP helped inspire to integrate much higher levels of energy efficiency. A spokesman from the Government’s Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme was also interviewed and invited to comment on the need for higher standards.
(HHP was monitored as part of the Governments’ Energy Efficient Best Practice Programme – A case study report was published last year)
(2) Link to the Government announcement in same week to increased funding of £100m towards renewable energy.
The programme has produced one of the quickest and biggest responses that HHP has received after a media broadcast.
Hockerton Housing Project has won one of the categories (not for profit) of Eurosolar UK Awards (2000).
The Eurosolar UK Prizes are awarded each year (for the last 5 years) to those who have given outstanding service to the promotion of renewable energy including categories for local authorities, companies, individuals, engineers, architects, owners of renewable energy plants, authors and organisations. In the context of these awards, solar energy or renewable energy means energy derived from the sun, whether directly or indirectly, through weather systems (such as wind and hydropower) or crops. The aim is to promote renewable energy for widespread replication and public acceptance.
The judges looked for systems and projects that are inspiring and that can be reproduced. Winners will have demonstrated vision, persistence and ability to introduce and succeed with their project.
Judges comments on HHP:
“The integrated approach to living was very impressive and the low-impact ethos has considerable appeal. It is an important demonstration of the possible in a realistic context and is the strongest of a very strong field”.
“An extremely commendable project, which has had to persist and fight for its success. The whole system, which includes a reasonable amount of ‘lifestyle’ provides an example of future living standards”.
The award ceremony will be at Lord’s Cricket ground on 14th November as part of a ‘Sustainability in Public Services’ conference.
The UK’s premier business environment awards, the BCE Awards, recently announced its 1999 results. Hockerton Housing Project Trading Ltd (the Business Company based at HHP) has gained a MAJOR COMMENDATION in recognition of exemplary achievement with its environmental activities. BCE awards have consistently recognised the variety of business commitment to the environment to be found throughout Britain, from small to large companies, in the private and public sector.
HHP has managed over 3,000 enquiries in the last few years, including professionals such as architects, students and university lecturers, over 200 media articles, local government officers, and members of general public. The project has run nearly 100 tours of the project, given over 25 talks to various interest groups, provided advice and consultancy on low-energy house design, providing publications about the project, and supplied a limited range of ‘green’ goods.
We are very pleased to have received this award, particularly since we have managed this with relatively small resources. Hopefully our activities will have a significant impact on the way others consider the environment.