After its recent official launch, Armstrong Point, the UK’s first zero energy cost business park, has been praised by Baroness Hanham, minister responsible for the European Regional Development Fund.

Hanham opened the £2.7million development in Wigan, Greater Manchester, describing it as “exciting and innovative”.

The minister added, “Armstrong Point harnesses one very important priority, carbon emissions, while tackling another by supporting local businesses.”

The scheme comprises a range of renewable energy technologies including 90kWp Solar PV, a 6kW wind turbine, nine solar thermal hot water systems and nine heat pumps.

North West renewable energy and energy efficiency firm Eco Environments played a central role in helping the development on the old Britvic site in Hindley Green meet its energy saving goals.

The company, which has its head office in Liverpool, installed a Kingspan wind turbine as well as solar thermal and heat pump systems and Hyundai Solar PV panels.

The first tenants have already moved into the development which offers nine high specification business units where tenants will not have to pay any energy costs. The scheme was aided by European Regional Development Fund.

Dave Armstrong, whose company Armstrong Properties is behind the development, said, “We are delighted by the level of interest our development has generated to date. Our park offers the latest renewable energy technologies to tenants and is the first zero energy cost business park in the UK.”

David Hunt, a director with Eco Environments, added, “We worked closely with Armstrong Properties and Kingspan to ensure not only that the scheme was able to make use of the very best renewable energy technologies but also that it was delivered on time and to budget.

“We are confident that this will be the first of many similar projects like this across the UK as organisations increasingly put renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives at the centre of their business strategy.”

Armstrong Point has estimated that its tenants will save an average of £2.00 per square foot on their rent because they will have zero energy costs.

The park will create up to 65 new jobs on top of the 55 construction jobs while the site was being developed, providing a much needed boost to the Wigan economy.

All of the business units will have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of A+ as well as being only one of a handful of developments in the world to boast a BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) Outstanding rating.

The scheme includes a demonstration centre in one of the units, showcasing the range of low and zero carbon technologies available to commercial and domestic customers.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, said:, “The history of Wigan is built on energy but we are moving into a different era with scarcer resources. We have aspirations for a low carbon future and this development is an excellent part of that.”