Testing new innovative ideas
One example of a new innovative trial that the council is leading on is installing roads, pavements and cycleways that will capture, store and re-use solar, kinetic and thermal energy.
In Houghton Regis a section of road will have a pavement running alongside it with a special surface that will capture solar energy. In the summer, this heat can be stored and used to power streetlights and electronic road signs, or even heat nearby buildings. In cold weather, this technology will be used in combination with water pipes laid just below the surface that use geothermal energy from the earth. Together, they can also be used to warm the road surface, to prevent icy conditions and reduce the reliance on gritting lorries.
In another trial, the council will test kinetic pavement panels in Leighton Buzzard. These will capture the energy created by pedestrian footfall, which can again be used to power streetlights and electronic road signs. So, as people step on the pavement tiles, their weight will cause electromagnetic induction generators to generate off-grid electricity.