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Press Information PEET PUTS WIND INTO THE SAILS OF BUILDING TURBINE PROJECT “Deployed selectively micro wind could make a significant contribution to making the UK more energy efficient ….. but over-optimistic and technically naïve initial marketing has already made this end point much tougher to reach.” The most comprehensive study of building mounted wind turbines in the UK has received financial support from the Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust (PEET) which, with other high profile backers, is enabling the evaluation of 23 sites across Britain in the Warwick Urban Wind Trial Project. Pilkington, one of the world’s largest and most innovative glass makers, provides the income to PEET (www.pilkington.com/peet) which has provided funding for a large number of academic and practical energy efficiency projects. These do not have to be glass-related. Recently extended to carry on until August 2008 to allow more time to evaluate the full range of sites, the Warwick Urban Wind Trial Project is the brainchild of Matthew Rhodes and Encraft, the firm of consulting engineers he heads. Encraft provides specialist consulting engineering services to optimise the use of low carbon technologies in building projects, developments, and existing property portfolios, employing a team of chartered mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineers and low carbon consultants registered by CIBSE. The project is evaluating sites spread as far as Cornwall and Scotland, with others in London, Blackpool, Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Birmingham and Warwick, with two in conservation areas. Specifically PEET is funding the monitoring of 10 turbines located within Warwick, with sites that include gable end mounted turbines in urban and rural sites, and six on 6 and 14 storey blocks of flats on top of a hill. The latter are also being monitored using CCTV and a webcam, and live pictures will be available on the trial website (www.warwickwindtrials.org.uk) from mid-September. All turbines are commercially available from a range of manufacturers. Additional funding for sites within their area is provided by Warwick District Council, participating homeowners, and Encraft. More/ PEET Funding Puts Wind Into The Sails Of Building Turbine Project. Cont/ Technical and social science objectives The trial includes both technical and social science research. The technical element includes evaluation of the relative performance of similar machines from different manufacturers, on different building types. Encraft is measuring the energy output over time, and also energy drawn into the turbine control electronics when the systems are not operating. This data is correlated with wind speed on site at the hub height of the turbine and on a small number of sites wind direction is also being monitored. The social science element of the research looks at the extent to which social attitudes may create barriers to take up of the technology. Most importantly the research is looking at whether the presence of a relatively large number of turbines in a local area makes the population at large more aware of energy efficiency. Open access to data One of the key tenets of the research is openness, with findings being made freely available, particularly to members of the public upon whom the acceptance and take- up of renewable energy systems ultimately depends. The results of the trial are published regularly on the trials website (www.warwickwindtrials.org.uk) and there are discussion forums and links to manufacturer information. Initial findings Head of the project Matthew Rhodes summarised the findings so far: “The most surprising early finding of this project was that the biggest barriers in the market were not public perception, planning or regulatory, but largely the over-optimism of some of the manufacturers themselves. Wind speeds measured close to rooflines are 50-75% lower than modelled predictions and with turbulence effects energy outputs are 5-10 times lower than would be expected in a clear wind flow. “However, the trial has yet to secure results from the higher flat roof sites and reference site in Cornwall, but the team are expecting outputs from these sites to be of the order of 10 times the output from the lower urban locations.” More/ PEET Funding Puts Wind Into The Sails Of Building Turbine Project. Cont/ The public have been overwhelmingly supportive, says Rhodes: “Public opinion surveys conducted by the project and local media have consistently indicated over 80% of people support the technology and would be happy to have one installed next door.” The key early message from the trial is that urban wind is a great technology for exciting public interest in energy, but sites need to be chosen with great care. Explains Rhodes: “Deployed selectively micro wind could make a significant contribution to making the UK more energy efficient and increasing public understanding of energy technology, but over-optimistic and technically naïve initial marketing has already made this end point much tougher to reach.” More information on the trial is available from the project website at www.warwickwindtrials.org.uk, or direct from Encraft at www.encraft.co.uk. Information about Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust may be found at www.pilkington.com/peet. Ends. July 2007. Note for Editors The search for greater energy efficiency and lower carbon intensity has led Pilkington, the world’s leading Glass Company, to set up the Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust (PEET). This trust promotes innovation and improvement in the energy efficiency of buildings. It was established in response to the government’s challenge to business to develop environmental initiatives. Although funded by Pilkington, a board of trustees runs the Trust independently. It provides support for research, testing and demonstration projects designed to improve the knowledge or practice of energy efficiency in buildings of the 21st century – and not just in the area of glazing. PEET supports a wide diversity of projects from policy research to the testing and realisation of innovative technologies, removing the barriers to more efficient practices involves tackling issues like Government policy, public and professional attitudes, and the availability of information.
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