An award-winning eco home on a South Tyneside estate has opened its doors to the public to showcase two renewable heating systems.
‘The Showhouse’ on Lukes Lane Estate in Hebburn has been fitted with an air-sourced heat pump and a solar water heating system.
South Tyneside Homes is installing the systems to 60 homes in a scheme chosen for a National Energy Action award.
The housing group says the systems could reduce energy bills by up to 30%.
The air-sourced heat pump draws heat from the outside air before raising it to a higher temperature and distributing the heat around the radiators.
The system is powered by electricity, helping to drive down gas bills and reduce CO2 emissions.
The solar water heating system uses solar panels fitted to the roof to collect heat from the sun.
This is used to warm water which is stored in the hot water cylinder. A conventional boiler or immersion heater is then used to make the water hotter or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable. The system can provide about one third of hot water needs.
Other improvements included in the scheme are single to double-glazing window upgrades and improvements to cavity wall and loft insulations.
The scheme has been recognised by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) as being the best project of its type in the North East region.
Members from South Tyneside Homes Development Team will go to the House of Lords on Tuesday to collect the award from Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband.
In April 2006 responsibility for managing council homes in South Tyneside moved from South Tyneside Council to South Tyneside Homes. It currently manages approximately 19,000 homes.