Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Northern Ireland Proposes Mandatory Solar or Wind on All New Buildings

The Government is proposing changes to the Building Regulations which will make the use of renewable energy compulsory in all new builds from 2008, Secretary of State Peter Hain MP said today.

The changes, which all apply to all new homes, company and public buildings, will make micro-generation, such as solar panels to heat hot water, solar photo voltaic panels on roofs to generate electricity or small wind turbines for houses, mandatory in under two years.

Launching an £8 million renewable energy Household Programme, Peter Hain said that Northern Ireland is leading the rest of the United Kingdom in green energy.

Some 4,000 households will benefit under the Household Programme to install renewable energy systems in their home.

Families on low incomes and in social housing are also set to benefit from renewable energy. The Department of Social Development is providing 100 per cent grant assistance to install solar hot water systems in 500 homes in private fuel poor vulnerable households.

In the public sector, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive is to install 600 solar water panels in its properties.

Peter Hain said: “Northern Ireland is leading the rest of the UK in renewable energy and the Government is introducing initiatives to stimulate the use of green energy across the board.

“The Household Programme is another important milestone in the promotion of renewable energy in Northern Ireland. It puts in place an initiative that will stimulate renewable energy at household level and effectively initiate a programme of micro-generation development for the future.

“I am fully committed to the use of renewable energy and I know how effective it can be. In my home in Wales, I have installed PV panels on my roof and this has resulted in my energy bill being halved.

“As a Government, we are also moving forward in changes to the building regulations to help and encourage greater use of renewable energy.

“Changes will come into effect in November that will result in a 40 per cent reduction in emission and set onerous targets to encourage the use of renewables.

“Planned amendments to the Building Regulations will make micro-generation mandatory in new builds from April 2008. This comprehensive range of measures puts Northern Ireland in a good position to develop its renewable energy options.”

The Household Programme which was launched today in Comber is part of the Environment & Renewable Energy Fund announced by Peter Hain in February.



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