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Leicester Liberal Democrats Standing Up for the Environment

November 18, 2005 8:49 AM
Energy-saving light bulb.

A energy saving lightbulb

Energy Saving Plan

A NEW guidance document offering practical planning advice on incorporating energy efficient features in new buildings has been introduced by Liberal Democrat Led Leicester City Council.

The document sets out what renewable energy and community heat and power technologies are available and suitable for developments.

With increasing concerns about global warming and CO2 emissions, national, regional and local targets are being formulated to address this.

It is proposed that the city council will use the planning system to increase the use of renewable energy and to incorporate energy efficiency measures in the design and construction of buildings.

The proposals include simple measures such as:

• aligning buildings to take advantage of sunshine and natural light

• maximising insulation

• using local suppliers where possible, and

• using recycled materials, can all help.

In addition, major developments would be expected to obtain a minimum of 10% of their energy from renewable sources, such as:

• small-scale wind turbines,

• burning energy crops such as biomass (wood chippings) or

• using solar panels.

To achieve longer-term targets of at least 20% of energy used coming from renewable sources, on site, by 2020 the council would raise the base target of 10% by 1% increments each year for future major developments.

A draft of the document was sent to organisations in the city, and most of the response has been positive, with requests to make the 10% renewables target more prominent.

Support has also been received from Environ and the East Midlands Regional Assembly.

There are already schemes built, or in the pipeline, that offer good examples of how to achieve greater energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy sources or that incorporate combined heat and power.

While the capital costs of some of these technologies can be higher, (possibly by around 3-5 %), early consideration can minimise costs there are continuing advantages over the life of the development, such as lower running costs and heating bills.

Cllr Mark Farmer, cabinet lead for strategic community renewal, said: "For all our futures, it is vital that we get serious about energy conservation. The city council must set an example in this field, and live up to the billing as Environment City."