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United House, NHP Leisure Developments and Mitsubishi Electric (joint award)

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United House is a leading housing specialist offering innovative solutions across London and the south as a contractor and regeneration partner. The group undertakes projects that span social housing new build, refurbishment, urban regeneration, mixed-use, Public Private Partnerships and private residential schemes. Sustainability is at the heart of United House's work, which is continually measured through a series of short and long-term objectives as part of the company's commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

The company is a pioneer of low-carbon retrofit and has a reputation for taking a positive stance on sustainable construction and, as such, was the ideal partner to help realize Mike Spenser-Morris, Managing Director of NHP Leisure Developments, vision for a zero-carbon sustainable mixed-use development for Kingston Heights in Kingston town centre, Surrey. The development was to become the UK's first residential scheme to receive all of its heating, hot water and cooling requirements from solar energy naturally stored in the River Thames.

Approximately 50% of carbon emissions in the UK arise from the production of thermal energy. Whereas a great deal of attention has been paid to the production of green electricity, relatively little has been paid to the green production of heat. Mike Spenser-Morris's aim at Kingston was to demonstrate that it is possible to economically produce the 2.3 megawatts of thermal energy required by the development without burning any gas or wood pellets, and in doing so totally eradicate on-site carbon emissions, whilst at the same time increasing energy efficiency by at least 500% to 1,000% when compared to a combustion-based district heating system. For with global CO2 emissions now at an all-time high, and demand for the planet's energy resources increasing all the time, it is fundamental that we change the way in which we think about the provision of thermal energy for new homes, and on a larger scale, entire cities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2014

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