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26 INSIGHTS


Renewables The building’s PV array produces twice the amount of energy over the course of a year as the building will use. The electricity generated is initially used to meet demand from the house. Surplus electricity is then used to charge the 13.8 kWh battery and to boost operation of the ASHP to ensure the domestic hot water tank is fully charged. Only after the battery and hot water tank are fully charged will the system export surplus electricity to the grid – a solution that helps eliminate grid supply spikes from the PVs.


The battery ensures that for approximately eight months of the


year, the building imports no energy from the grid, while for the four winter months the home imports a small amount of power. If all of the building’s final energy demand were imported from the


grid, the associated emissions would be 2,866 kgCO2eq/a (based on the PHPP energy model). The inclusion of the PV array and


battery reduces this by 98 per cent, to just 57.32 kgCO2eq/a. The energy supplied by the battery eliminates the critical energy gap that can occur in winter when the home’s power demand is higher than the renewables can supply. By removing stress on the grid at times of peak demand, and by storing energy that can be supplied to the grid to help meet grid demand, the house complements today’s grid but also, importantly, demonstrates the viability of a future grid powered by renewable energy. An electric vehicle charging point is included in the scheme for a future electric vehicle. The controls will ensure that the car’s battery too will be fully charged before electricity is exported. The car’s battery could even be used as an additional energy store for the house and its occupant’s needs, although this scenario has yet to be modelled. 20 years ago, accommodating renewables was not an issue because the UK’s electricity grid was powered primarily by fossil fuels; the National Grid turned generating capacity on and off to meet demand. Last year 29 per cent of the UK’s electricity generation was from renewables, such as wind turbines; it’s a contribution that is growing. The problem for the grid is that renewables cannot be switched on and off, so energy demand needs to mirror energy supply.


Buildings such as Lark Rise, which incorporate battery storage harvest energy from the grid when it is plentiful and can sell it back to the grid at times of high demand, demonstrate how homes could be designed to work with a grid powered entirely by renewable energy


Conclusion


By incorporate battery storage and harvesting energy from the grid when it is plentiful, and selling it back to the grid at times of high demand, buildings such as Lark Rise demonstrate how homes could be designed to work with a grid powered entirely by renewable energy. With its 12.4 kW PV array and 13 kWh battery, the house shows that if the concept is scaled up, then new and retrofit buildings like this will significantly reduce national peak energy demand. If peak energy demand can be reduced, then so too is the need for new power stations. As the scheme’s architect Justin Bere explained in the CIBSE Building Performance entry submission document, “The many billions of pounds saved on building, operating, fuelling and eventually decommissioning each power station can instead go into creating and converting more buildings like this, thereby producing more savings in power station expenditure and more low-carbon jobs – a really healthy feedback loop.” The CIBSE Building Performance Awards judges described the scheme as: “A ground breaking development which was used also to understand how building homes to this specification could be adopted more widely to challenge the need to fulfil energy demand through additional grid capacity.”


Sara Kassam is head of sustainability development at CIBSE


STABLE ENVIRONMENT The temperature in the highly-insulated house stays at around 20-21˚C all year round


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ADF JULY 2019


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