There will be an informal talk about the future of housing later this week.

Builder John Sheppard will be giving the talk, about how he recently built two superefficient new homes in Douglas for £220,000 each, and about his years helping to run a housing co-operative.

Mr Sheppard’s houses featured in the Isle of Man Examiner earlier this month.

The government is planning to ban boilers in new homes in a few years’ time.

The new semi-detached houses in Victoria Road use electric heating rather than conventional gas or oil central heating and are a showcase for what could happen in the future.

Mr Sheppard, a director at Wren Sustainable Ltd, and Steve Crowther, architect at cre8-iom, worked on the project together.

One house is heated with a 1.5 kilowatt heater through the winter and the bills make up about £40 for a quarter.

The finished unit with no heat input other than solar gain averages 18 degrees.

Mr Sheppard said: ’You’ll get very, very low bills.

’Heating is all off peak, electric as well but because of the high level of insulation it’s incredibly efficient.

’The big problem normally is heat loss but with this you’ve got very little.’

The heart of the new properties is the ventilation heat recovery system.

Each room takes all the heat out and puts all the heat exchange back into it.

The only heat into the house is from solar gain as well as the waste heat that is generated from people’s body.

Mr Sheppard said: ’That’s costing effectively nothing.’

The average bills for heating and lighting are estimated to be £100 a quarter once fully occupied with the only additions being from the kitchen where cooking is done and from the bathroom with showering.

On the outside of the houses is permeable paving which acts as a tree root protection system.

This means when the rainwater comes down, it’s channelled into the top of the car park and then it filters down and gets soaked into the ground.

No drainage system is needed to take it away, it’s all dealt with onsite and trees can still be planted.

The Manx Labour Party is hosting an informal talk about the houses on Thursday, July 1, at the South Douglas Old Friends’ Association on Prospect Hill, starting at 8pm.

Joney Faragher, leader of the Manx Labour Party, said: ’Affordable good quality housing is a crucial issue so that our young people and all Manx residents can afford to live on our Island and have a decent life. This issue comes up again and again on the doorstep.

’Most people feel that Manx homes should be for Manx and local people and not for wealthy off-island investors to make a profit from.

’There’s definitely a question that if John has built his new four-bedroom home for around £220,000, why the market rate is so much higher.

’Perhaps it is time for commissioners and Isle of Man Government to once again provide serviced plots to residents at a reasonable rate.

’Superefficient affordable prefabricated homes and housing co-operatives can also both be part of the solution.

’Everyone is welcome to come and learn from John’s experience of both.’

The party’s regular monthly meeting will be running from 7pm before the talk.

The Manx Labour Party’s policies include issuing bonds to fund social housing, upgrading social housing stock, making landlord standards apply to social housing, an equity scheme to help homeowners to improve, insulate, or adapt their homes, and restricting off-island speculators from buying housing.

It also favours urban regeneration rather than building on green fields, and improving the energy efficiency standards of new homes.

Joney Faragher is standing in the Douglas East constituency in the House of Keys general election in September.