Portsmouth and Liverpool are both introducing green schemes for their less affluent citizens. A total of 71 affordable and sustainable homes will be built in Portsmouth. The development will consist of a mix of one and two bedroom apartments, on a brownfield site that was formerly part of a business centre. It will incorporate a variety of "green features, enabling the scheme to generate an EcoHomes rating of "very good.

Three of the five blocks will have a total of four sedum roof gardens, and low dual flush WCs, aerated taps, mains pressure showers and low energy light fittings will help to minimise water and electric usage. Rainwater will be collected and used to maintain private and communal areas and refuse storage areas have been designed to easily accommodate additional re-cycling bins. Downland Housing Association, which is part of the Affinity Sutton Group are responsible for the building.

Mark Perry, chief executive for Downland said: "We have been working in partnership with Portsmouth City Council to try and meet the strong demand for affordable homes in Portsmouth. The apartments will be available for rent to those on the local housing register and will also enable key workers in the area to get onto the property ladder. The development will make extensive use of prefabricated construction components and substantial off-site construction. It is also proposed that all materials resulting from the demolition of the existing building will be retained, recycled or re-used on site wherever possible.

Meanwhile, Liverpool City Council is cutting carbon emissions and halving the average energy bill for residents on a sheltered housing estate. Free solar panels have been fitted to 24 bungalows on the Alderwood Lodge Estate in Speke. The panels produce up to 80 per cent of the hot water needed for each home and work all-year-round.

A local councillor described using renewables to cut energy bills for some of the most vulnerable Liverpudlians as "inspired". As well as cutting carbon emissions the scheme should allow residents to save a bit of cash. If the pilot projects prove a success the council aim to install solar heating and hot water systems in all their properties across the city.


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