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ENVIRONMENT & SUSTAINABILITY


Not much attention is usually paid to the roofs of stations, but at Blackfriars, it’s one of the main talking points. RTM discussed the sustainability agenda with Network Rail’s director of investment projects Simon Kirby, and heard more at Railtex from Thameslink programme sponsor Simon Blanchfl ower.


P


utting otherwise dead space to an ef- fi cient and energy-generating use is win-win for all concerned; and while rela- tively few railway stations are seen com- monly from up above, Blackfriars, as a sta- tion built predominately across the River Thames, will be much more overlooked than most.


So a lot of people will get to know the pho- tovoltaic array being installed on the roof of Blackfriars station, across the bridge, which will be the largest in the country. It will generate over a megawatt of electricity at peak output, cater for half of the station’s energy needs, and save around 550 tonnes in carbon every year.


Usefully, the 4,410 cells need light, rather than heat – so they work during the colder months and even when covered in snow, rather than just in blazing summer sunshine.


Ideal location


Blackfriars has been labelled the “jewel in the crown” of the Thameslink upgrades by programme sponsor Simon Blanchfl ower, and he told RTM that Network Rail is keen to ensure it is not a one-off showpiece project, but can inform future station upgrades.


He explained: “Obviously Blackfriars is ideal because of the orientation of the roof and its location, so it gives us good effi cien- cy for PV (photovoltaic) capture. We will continue to look for locations with similar benefi ts to be gained from installing PV.


“It’s not going to be on every project, but we are committed to the sustainability agenda and we look at all aspects of it, whether brown roofs, PVs, rain-water harvesting, or whatever. There’s a whole range of options.


“Blackfriars lends itself to that particular type of option.”


He added: “It’s another step forward in terms of building sustainability into our works on site.


“We’ve got green credentials on the Thameslink Farringdon upgrade too: we have a ‘brown roof’ on the integrated ticket hall that supports the sustainability agenda. It’s worth nothing that Blackfriars and Farringdon stations have qualifi ed for BREEAM ‘excellent’ ratings in terms of their environmental and sustainability cre- dentials.”


Lessons learned


It is also a big issue for Simon Kirby, Net- work Rail’s director of investment pro- jects, who told RTM that it must become


40 | rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11


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