Urban Energy Farm

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In addition to its historical architectural significance, which was innovative in its day, The refurbished Lighthouse incorporates some of the latest innovations in its approach to design for an urban context.

A unique feature of the refurbished Lighthouse building is a demonstration of the potential for use of renewables on an urban scale, whereby, renewable energy technologies are incorporated within the structure.

The building’s viewing platform serves as a showcase for state of the art technologies that demonstrate the integration of passive and active renewable energy components.

The idea for the project was the result of a desire on the part of Glasgow City Council to explore the potential for embedded renewable energy generation in a city context as part of the 1999 City of Architecture Festival.

The final scheme for the passive elements of the Lighthouse design incorporated a number of passive energy demand reduction technologies such as – transparent insulation; low-e, argon filled triple glazing and daylight responsive luminaires.

The selection of renewable technologies, was arrived at through an investigation that utilised Strathclyde University’s ESP-r building simulation system to explore the opportunities to use appropriate passive renewable technologies to minimise energy demands and then to meet the residual needs using active renewables.

The final solution comprised ducted wind turbines, arranged on the south and west roof edges, in conjunction with a south-facing hybrid photovoltaic façade (that is, heat and power generation) and standalone photovoltaic components on the south and west.

In addition, a secondary, low power connection to the public electricity supply is also required during extended periods of low renewable energy availability – in other words the building is not seen as ‘stand alone’.

That these state-of-the-art technologies are incorporated into The Lighthouse building makes it unique. It is possibly the only ‘urban energy farm’ in Europe, sensitively installed into a protected building of architectural importance.

The ultimate intention us that these systems will be monitored, with a view to disseminating the outcomes via some form of display, either in the platform itself or in the building foyer. Moreover, it is hoped that the Lighthouse may act as a live workshop, to demonstrate, and provide ‘hands on’ experience of new technologies for use in the Lighthouse’s professional outreach and public awareness raising programmes. We are not quite at that stage yet, but we are still pursuing this.

To find out more, click the resource links opposite and use the cursor to tour the rooftop. You haven’t seen Glasgow until you’ve seen the View From The Top!

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