This week I am away on my summer vacation in Italy, two weeks of sun and great food. We are in the hills just outside Sienna for the first week in a complex of nine units spread over a hillside with a shared pool – nothing unusual there, but what is interesting is the use of renewables.
Our villa is separate from the rest (which suites us well), but all of the units are linked up to a solar array on the hillside adjacent, I am assuming this feeds into the local network as well although I haven’t been able to confirm this. In addition to this all the villas have solar heating, there are large panels and tanks on each roof – not obvious unless you get at the right angle to see it.
Internally there is a water heater, but it appears to be a high efficiency one which is also linked up to the heating system – there is no air conditioning. So all in all the development appears to be fairly low impact in energy terms. Seeing this makes me realise just how far behind we are in the UK with getting renewables into our housing stock.
Yes we are moving forwards with wind farms and similar things, but our housing stock is old and inefficient, we need to address this sooner than later.