River Ouse to be harnessed to heat homes in Lewes

Phoenix Industrial Estate, Lewes.
Phoenix Industrial Estate, Lewes.

A controversial housing scheme in Lewes will be the first development in Sussex to use river energy to heat homes.

The Lewes North Street Quarter will use thermal energy from the River Ouse to heat the 416 new homes and workspace planned for the site.

The scheme will also include some green roofs and the creation of open water channels to prevent flooding.

It will employ water source heat pumps to recover solar energy stored in the river and will boost this with a heat exchanger to create warmth.

Water source heat pumps produce zero on-site carbon emissions and can reduce residents’ thermal energy bills by up to 20 per cent, in comparison to a gas boiler.

Santon North Street Quarter project director Clive Wilding said: “Lewes residents told us they wanted to see a truly sustainable scheme during the three year pre-application consultation period and the North Street Quarter will strictly adhere to three key principles during its construction, build and occupation: Use Less First; Multifunctionality and Adaptability.

“With measures such as the district heating system, new cycle and pedestrian routes, a sustainable urban drainage system and low emission, adaptable homes designed to ‘lifetime homes’ standards, the North Street Quarter will become one of the most sustainable places to live and work in the area.”

The plans include a sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS), one of the first in the district, which will create attractive open water channels through the development and green roofs on some buildings.

SUDS alleviate the risk of downstream flooding by slowing water run off and provide a habitat for wildlife. The green roofs will be planted with native wildflower species.

SUDS have been promoted by environmentalists and charities such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust for their ability to manage surface water and slow run off into rivers.

The charities have promoted SUDS as an opportunity to bring urban wetlands and other wildlife-friendly green spaces into towns and cities.

The North Street Quarter scheme model and film will be shown at Lewes Town Hall from April 8, Mon-Thur 9am-5pm, Fri 9am-4pm, Visit www.northstreetqtr.co.uk for more information.