Hot water heating being powered by the River Thames is the unusual idea being launched this week for 136 new homes in Kingston. First-time buyers will welcome the cut in energy bills.
Kingston Heights is a UK first — built at a cost of £70 million, it has a system of buried pipes and pumps to extract latent warmth from the deepest waters of the Thames to use it to heat water and provide underfloor heating in its home.
Used water will be pumped back into the river, filtered and sufficiently cooled to do now harm to fish or riverbed creatures such as eels or mussels.
Backers say this is an eco-friendly project that will cut carbon emissions as well as fuel bills The average heating bill is forecast to be £1,600 according to research by Scotiabank — a relief for owners, especially after our long and cold winter and spring.
The scheme includes 18 “affordable” homes being sold by housing association Affinity Sutton (affinitysutton.com). Prices start from £62,500 for a 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom apartment with a full price of £250,000. A deposit of five per cent is needed (£3,125).
The Kingston Heights scheme is innovative and affordable and only half a mile from the shops and restaurants of Kingston High Street. Trains from Kingston take around half an hour to get to Waterloo.
Property developers are under increasing pressure to find smart ways to cut the carbon footprints of new homes. The Government wants all new-build property to be carbon neutral by 2016.
Meanwhile Harrow Council in north-west London has a more random idea for keeping tenants warm. It is considering offering council tenants £20,000 lump sums to move overseas. The council, struggling with a shortage of social housing, says the incentive scheme is being considered to “free up vital housing stock”. If the option of moving to sunnier climes goes ahead, it will be completely voluntary.