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University of Bath installs largest solar panels in Bath on new 'green' building
The University of Bath has recently installed the largest set of solar panels in Bath. The solar panels are sited on the roof of the newly built East Building which has been designed and constructed to top eco-design standards.
Louis Bonay (Architects Design Partnership), Karen Harbinson (Project Manager), Peter Phelps (Energy & Environment Manager)
The solar photovoltaic (PV) array is comprised of 122 separate south-facing panels with an area of over 140m² giving a maximum output of 24 kW of electricity, and is expected to deliver somewhere in the region of 23,000 kWh per year, greater than the annual electricity consumption of 6 houses. The panels are expected to offset approximately 10% of the carbon emissions of the building which currently houses the Computer Science department, support service offices, teaching laboratories and a 350 seat lecture theatre.
Using the electricity generated on site at the university will deliver 13 tonnes of direct CO2 savings through the reduction in grid electricity consumption. As well as saving carbon emissions the investment makes financial sense also - for every unit of electricity produced the government will pay over 30p under the Feed-In-Tariff incentive scheme. A display meter is positioned in the entrance to the building demonstrating to students and staff the efficiency of the solar panels. To date (from February to June) the PV array has delivered over 10,000 kWh of electricity, enough to make 500,000 cups of tea.
The whole building has been designed for energy efficiency and low environmental impact, achieving a BREEAM 'Excellent' award for its eco-design. The design also features a Termodeck heating and ventilation system. This system uses hollow precast concrete floor units as ventilation ducts enabling the mass of the concrete to regulate the internal temperature and reduce fluctuations, thereby significantly reducing carbon emissions and energy use compared to a standard mechanically ventilated or air conditioned building of this type. The lighting is all high efficiency, fully automatic and programmable. A central atrium brings natural daylight into the depth of the building, serves as part of the ventilation system, and provides circulation and social space.
The building's insulation significantly exceeds building regulations
to form a highly efficient thermal envelope, and is combined with building
components which are selected for their low embodied impact and responsible
sourcing, such as cedar shingles cladding the lecture theatre and oak
cladding on the main elevations. Landscaping also played an important
role in meeting the BREEAM rating; with native woodland planting, bird
and bat boxes to enhance the ecology of the site, extending the biodiversity
habitat of the University Campus and surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural
For further info on these and other related matters see