Wednesday, 6 June 2007


Construction firms queue to be first to build 'eco-village'
The Government’s “Carbon Challenge” plan to create a zero-carbon development in Glebe Road has prompted interest from building firms.

BUILDING companies are poised to start a bidding war in Peterborough for the chance to create one of the UK's first "eco-villages".

Dozens of major British and European building firms have already expressed a strong interest in building the 150-home site in Glebe Road, Fletton, which will be part of the £150 million development of the city's South Bank.The interest is because the site is one of the first two Government's "Carbon Challenge" projects.It will act a model for Gordon Brown's plans for five eco-towns, providing up to 100,000 zero-carbon homes across England and a beacon of good practice across the building industry.The eco-friendly homes will also be the first "zero emission" homes, which the Government wants to be the norm by 2016, as part of the fight against global warming.Jayne Lomas, project manager for the Carbon Challenge initiative, said: "Building firms want to show they are leading the way in terms of design and energy efficiency."We've only just starting the tendering process for this site, but we've already had loads of e-mails from different companies wanting to get involved."I expect we will have 100 developers bidding for our Bristol site and probably a similar number for Peterborough."

We've also had smaller businesses contact us to get involved, with devices such as wind power generator and solar panels, and we want to get them involved too."When we narrow the number of bidders to about six or seven, we're going to invite people down to the site for 'speed dating' session, where they'll have the chance to speak to these firms."

It's a fact that over the next nine years, building regulations will step up and all new buildings will have to reach these low carbon emission levels."Firms are very keen to prove they can do this already and it's why we've seen so much interest."The homes, which will be exempt from stamp duty, will be built on the former Elliott Group factory site and their power supply will come from solar panels and wind turbines, rather than gas or coal-fired power stations.Homes will be made out of recycled materials, taps would pump out hot and cold running recovered rainwater.And, in order not to
waste any power generated, homes would feature a special "eco hat" roof to make sure little heat seeps out.

Homes currently produce 27 per cent of Britain's 40 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions, and the new regulations are needed to help the Government's target of a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse gases by 2050.

Some 21 local authorities have so far expressed an interest in hosting the remaining eco-villages.Housing minister Yvette Cooper, who announced the start of the tendering process this week, said: "We need more homes, but we need to build them at higher standards."This is our chance to develop the new technologies for zero-carbon homes and eco-towns."

The purpose of the challenge is to show that the new technologies work and that they can be used in an affordable way. We want to see more affordable homes. It's no good if only the rich can afford to be zero-carbon."

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