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thus reduce the carbon footprint of the site even further.
The Margam Discovery
detection is used in all areas of variable occupancy. All
Another important consideration in the design was
Environmental Centre in
services are controlled through a building management
South Wales, above and left,
that the buildings should offer low cost of ownership. system, with extensive monitoring of energy consumption
recently opened, aims to be
A key element of this is automation of the fuel supply
a showcase for renewable
to ensure that systems are operating at maximum
to the boiler, where minimum input is required from energy in action efficiency.
maintenance staff. Ash created by the biomass boiler is “A key element of the centre’s purpose was that visitors
used as a fertiliser on the surrounding grounds. should be able to see the services that contribute to its
As biomass is considered to be a carbon-neutral low-energy performance and understand more about low
fuel, the use of a biomass boiler has been predicted to carbon technologies in real situations,” explained Siân
reduce CO2 emissions by 40 per cent, giving the centre Lewis, senior electrical engineer at Faber. “Consequently,
a predicted carbon footprint of less than 10kg of CO2/ all of the renewable technologies are designed to be visible
a year. to visitors to demonstrate the benefits of renewable energy.
The centre required a mains gas supply for the kitchens, For example, the solar water heating system is linked to
so the designers decided to optimise performance a display monitor with a graphical representation of the
of heating plant by including a gas-fired condensing system’s operation,” she continued.
boiler. Supplementing the biomass boiler in winter, “Similarly, a plasma monitor in reception, linked
this uses the low-return water temperatures from the to the BMS, will provide visual displays of a range of
underfloor heating to maximise condensing. Hot water energy parameters. The biomass boiler and silo are also
in the teaching block is provided by solar thermal panels, very visible through an inspection window between the
supplemented by the boiler plant when necessary. Hot
The project
reception area and the energy centre,” she added.
water for the accommodation block is provided by the While financial constraints prevented the use of
boiler plant.
has been
photovoltaics (PVs) for power generation, a 50W PV
characterised module has been installed as an interactive teaching aid.
Natural ventilation
by its need to
This small scale system uses external pole-mounted PV
The centre is designed to be mainly naturally ventilated modules to generate sufficient power to run a radio or
via a combination of opening windows and automatic roof
not only make
desk lamp.
lights, the latter being controlled via rain and temperature effective use “Throughout its design, the project has been
sensors to prevent overheating in summer and provide
of renewable
characterised by its need to not only make effective
occupant comfort. Mechanical ventilation is restricted to use of renewable and low carbon technologies to meet
toilets and en-suite bathrooms to comply with Building
and low carbon
the sustainability criteria of the client, but also the
Regulations. technologies, requirement to use these systems as teaching tools. While
Rainwater is stored in a below-ground water tank and
but also the
this presented us with some design challenges, it also
used for flushing WCs and urinals within the public made for a very interesting and satisfying project,” Gealy
toilets. Mains cold water is used as a secondary source
concluded. l
of supply to the tank to ensure minimum water levels to use these
are maintained.
systems as
The north-facing roof lights also help to maximise
teaching tools
The services were designed by the Cardiff office of Faber
penetration of natural daylight while minimising solar
Maunsell | AECOM working closely with client Neath Port
heat gains. Daylight is supplemented by predominantly – Sarah Gealy
Talbot County Borough Council, concept architects the
fluorescent artificial lighting, using a combination of
Welsh School of Architecture, and architects Loyn & Co.
high frequency T5 sources in teaching areas and compact
The project also received support from the Welsh
fluorescent in accommodation areas.
Assembly Government and was funded through a £5.6
In order to provide demand-controlled lighting, the
million grant from the European Regional Development
classroom lighting is linked to photocells to dim the
Fund and Local Regeneration Fund.
lighting in response to daylight levels, while occupancy April 2009 CIBSE Journal 43
CIBSEapr09 pp42-43 centre.indd 43 2/4/09 15:01:42
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