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Solar water heating at Environment Agency HQ

June 10, 2008 at 2:29 pm

We recently saw Number 10 finally returning to drinking water from the tap in order to try and practise what they preach. Now the Environment Agency is following suit in its own, more adventurous, way.

The Green Building press has revealed that, in their offices in Reading, the Environment Agency has just installed a solar water heating system which will supply its 350 members of staff with hot water for their canteen and then eventually their bathrooms.

There are five panels which collect the sun’s heat and then transfer this energy, which warms a 400 litre tank, and then feeds into a 24kw gas-fired water heater. The offices will proudly boast a 20% reduction in C02 usage per year, which equates to around 26 tonnes saved. Those in charge at the Agency are delighted with the work carried out on the project by Jacobs Engineering Ltd. They must also be pretty pleased with the fact that it’ll be saving the offices roughly £3,400 per year on fuel expenses too.

The reasons for the move might seem obvious but it was implemented as part of the Environment Agency’s Internal Environmental Strategy, which they themselves are rolling out nationwide this year, so it would have made sense to set a good example. But the question as to whether this will influence the rest of the country is one that is much harder to predict. The Environment Agency is keen to stress the savings of up to £40 per year for households willing to try heating their water in this way, but many people remain as sceptical as ever.

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