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Self-Powered Apartments

From the maker of BedZed comes ... PortZED, the self-powered apartments
Extract taken from the on 24 February 2011
UK's largest off-grid housing development includes traffic lights indicating energy use and will be powered by renewables.  The proposed plan for 70 off-grid homes at the PortZED development in Shoreham, East Sussex.
The UK's largest ever off-grid housing development will have a traffic light system prompting residents to keep their energy use low, say developers awaiting planning permission.
PortzED is the 67-apartment development dreamed up by Bill Dunster the architect famous for the BedZed eco-development in Sutton and it is designed to be entirely self-powered.  The six apartment buildings, to be built at the mouth of Shoreham port near Brighton, will be linked by wind turbines, and their southern face will be tiled in solar thermal and photovoltaics panels.  Batteries will be charged during the day in order to keep the lights on at night, and the apartments themselves will be heavily insulated in order to keep power use as low as possible.

But resident behaviour will also play a key role, says the developer, Colin Brace of Bohogreen, who has worked on previous low-carbon projects. "We can't tell people that you only have so much power, and no more. But there are studies showing that if you give people renewable energy they think, oh good, it's free, and their energy use actually goes up. So an important aspect of the project will be to educate people about their energy use.

"The apartments will be designed to encourage communal living as much as possible," says Brace, "rather than having everyone in their own rooms using their own sources of power." There will also be LED lights on the wind turbines which light up red, amber and green to show which block is using power most heavily, in order to foster "a healthy sense of competition between residents to keep their power use low".

"The most important thing is that residents have a sense of ownership," he adds. "There will be resident panels, and if there's something like a football match coming up, the idea is that they will be able to talk through how to handle the attendant surge in power demand."

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