Britain's first ever 'carbon negative' street has been unveiled in South Tyneside.
Sinclair Meadows in South Shields is the most eco-friendly social housing development in the UK.
The 21 timber houses that make up the estate have the largest array of solar panels on domestic dwellings in the country.
The electricity they generate means families can expect significantly lower energy bills than conventional homes.
52 residents, ranging in age from two weeks old to pensioners in their 70s, are due to move in this week.
A zero-carbon communal biomass boiler, fed with recycled wood chippings, will provide heating and hot water.
Residents will receive extensive training so they can learn to make the most of their new homes.
'Carbon negative' means the homes generate more energy than they use.
They are made of natural materials like timber, hemp insulation and lime render.
Sinclair Meadows was purpose-designed and built by not-for-profit housing provider Four Housing Group to surpass the Government’s definition of zero carbon and to exceed the minimum requirement for Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
The properties are currently 20 per cent beyond the current zero carbon definition and the landlords say it will be more than 60 per cent beyond the 2013 definition.
Toilets are flushed with rainwater collected in underground tanks after running from the rooftops.
Dawn Keightley, Director of Operations for Four Housing Group, said: “Sinclair Meadows is unique because it is the first purpose built and designed carbon negative housing scheme on this scale.
“Within three years of being built it has the ability to remove its own carbon footprint created during construction.
"Once the development has reached the end of its useful life the majority of the materials will be reusable, recyclable and biodegradable.
"Residents will be trained in order to make the most of their homes, and they will see greatly reduced energy bills.
"The people who are moving in are currently on the council's waiting list for property and we sought to home tenants who expressed a desire to live a green lifestyle."
The development is made up of 21 properties with nine three-bedroomed houses and the rest are two-bedroomed properties.
Glass on the building is mainly south facing to trap heat and the solar panels will generate enough 'clean' electricity for all of the homes at the development with any surplus energy being exported back to the national grid.
Residents will also be take part in a two year study conducted by Northumbria University to assess which aspects of the development provide the biggest energy savings.
The housing complex also has bird boxes, bat boxes, kitchen gardens and a 'bug hotel' for the community to look after.
The homes have energy monitoring systems installed which allow the occupiers to see the energy that they are using at any one time, and to make informed decisions about reducing their energy use and saving money.
Dawn added: "We look forward to welcoming tenants in to see the technology in action and to experience life in the most advanced carbon negative social housing community in the UK.
"These low energy, quality homes offer security and predictability at a time when fuel costs are volatile, so we also expect our tenants to benefit financially.”
The houses are also expected to generate significant revenue returns under the Government’s energy efficiency incentives, including the Feed in Tariff and the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.
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