New housing will draw on ancient technology

GREEN technologies from the past are set to be used in a £100m PFI housing scheme for the future.

GREEN technologies from the past are set to be used in a £100m PFI housing scheme for the future.

A presentation to developers on the scheme for sheltered housing in North Tyneside explored how wind, hydro and biomass power, and building design techniques, have been used throughout the ages.

The event at the reconstructed Roman bath house at the Segedunum Roman fort site at Wallsend looked at how wind power was used in Persia 1,500 years ago, traditional insulation techniques in igloos, and Roman biomass systems where wood and plant material was employed to heat buildings like bath houses.

Also under the spotlight was the age-old use of thick walls and floors to both store heat and cool buildings, and siting rooms to capture the warmth of the sun.

North Tyneside Council is transforming its sheltered housing after it successfully bid for £100m in Private Finance Initiative credits.

Called Older People, Homes for the Future, it will be the biggest single capital investment in the council’s history. The council is working with Northumbria University to support two research associate positions to work on energy systems and building design.

It is believed to be the first time the use of renewable energy is being explored across the whole of a public housing initiative.

The project will see 13 new sheltered housing schemes built and another 12 refurbished over the next five years.

“We wanted to show that these technologies have been around for thousands of years, and some of it is very simple,” said Phil Jensen, council technical procurement manager.

“The Romans left their legacy in North Tyneside and we want to set a challenge to developers to leave a legacy of good, sustainable technologies.

“What we design now will be for the future while drawing on the history of the past.”

The aim is that the North Tyneside project will be one of the most sustainable sheltered housing schemes in the country.

Five consortia of developers were represented at the event, with a preferred developer due to be chosen by the end of this summer.

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