Residents living on the most eco-friendly social housing development in the UK are reporting massive reductions in energy bills.
Sinclair Meadows was launched six months ago and already, the average costs have been cut by seventy five per cent. Fiona Trott visited the complex in South Shields to find out how they do it.
One of the first things you notice at Sinclair Meadows is the smell. It's a light woody smell coming from the timber clad homes which are facing the sun. The solar panels are also soaking it up and along with a boiler that runs on recycled wood pellets, these twenty one properties have all the energy they need.
Inside, the toilets use rainwater and there are vents which take in a room's heat and re-distribute it around the home.
But it's not just science which is apparently making this social scheme work, it's the attitude of the people who live here too. Their behaviour is even being monitored by Northumbria University. It's a living human experiment.
At one of the ground floor flats, Dot and Brian Wilson are out gardening. They're the couple on the complex with the green fingers and were chosen from five hundred applicants because of their environmental awareness. "We've got some leeks, onions, cauliflower and we're going to get some peppers and peas too" Dot explains. I asked her what it feels like to be part of a grand experiment. She laughs with delight, "I've always wanted to live in an eco-friendly home and I never thought I'd be abl...