ENERGY saving schemes in store for Uckfield show the town is proudly taking the lead in going green - while reducing costs to the taxpayer.
After extensive research into alternative energy, the council has lodged plans to install a 42-panel photo voltaic array on the roof of the Civic Centre. The panels would be mounted to face south from the Centre roof overlooking the electricity sub-station.
To support its environmentally friendly credentials the council also hopes to put up a 15 metre wind turbine at the Victoria Pleasure Ground which would supply energy to the pavilion.
As part of its ‘Think Global – Act Local’ initiative, plans are already underway to extend a process which installs detectors in interior lights so they switch off when they are not needed.
Detectors are already in place in some parts of the Civic Centre but the scheme will be extended across the whole of the building so energy is saved when rooms are empty.
Sensors are also being used in the Victoria pavilion to ensure water is only heated to supply the amount needed.
Surplus electricity generated from the Civic Centre’s roof panels will be fed into the national grid. Experts say the array to be installed would generate in the region of 8,472Wh of electricity a year, equivalent to a saving of about 4,575kg of carbon dioxide.
Cllr Michael Harker said: “These panels not only enable us to achieve a lower carbon footprint, because the grid pays for excess electricity, they repay their capital outlay and save Uckfield taxpayers hard-earned money.
“The business case is excellent and we are guaranteed a 20 year income.” He said that although people were sometimes wary of turbines, the Victoria Park model would be small and unobtrusive.
The scheme contributes towards renewable energy generation targets expected to be achieved by 2020.
Mayor Cllr John Carvey said about 75% of the power produced would meet the Civic Centre’s needs and the rest sold on. It would take only nine years to recover the capital cost of installing the panels and from then on, the income is profit for the council and aiding substantial cost reduction reflected in council taxes.
Regarding the wind turbine, Cllr Harker said: “People should not be alarmed. This is not a ‘wind farm’ size tubine and and should prove astonishingly effective.”
And he emphasised how the council is working to exploit all possible energy saving measures, particularly now that an economic turndown means families have less money in their pockets.