Greater Manchester will become the first in the world to trial new green technology designed to reduce energy bills in the shape of new smart energy system.
The tech, developed in Japan, uses air source heat pumps to function as a kind of reverse air conditioning - compressing air to generate heat and hot water, while also being able, at peak demand periods, of switching to stored energy in order to take pressure off the National Grid.
Some 600 homes in the area will have their existing heating systems replaced as part of a £20m deal between Japan’s Department of New Energy and Development Organisation and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
Roughly half of homes benefitting from the technology are in Wigan social housing. "We know high energy bills are a major concern for our tenants," Janice Barton, chief executive of Wigan and Leigh Homes, told local press this week.
Barton expressed hope the new technology will not just lead to cheaper bills, but also produce energy in a cleaner and greener way, claiming the deal builds on work already underway using energy saving equipment and green energy generating technology such as solar panels.
For Lord Peter Smith, chair of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Leader of Wigan Council, "Keeping residents warm and comfortable while cutting our carbon emissions is an important strategic goal for Greater Manchester and this partnership represents a real step forward, one that could offer a model for many more communities in the future.
"Combining advanced technologies from our Japanese partners with local academic expertise, as well as support from our housing companies and Electricity Northwest, we’ve pulled a winning team together to grapple with the challenge of retrofitting energy efficient heating into our housing stock."