The Lib Dems in Chesterfield have persuaded Barratts to include solar panels on a housing estate, the first time Barratts have done this. So we all got to put on high-vis vests and hard hats and go up on the scaffolding to the 5th storey roofs to look at the evacuated solar tubes. Very exciting.
We also looked at ground-source heat pumps being use to heat new buiness incubator units in Staveley – 48 100m vertical shafts have been buried under the ground outside a new complex of office / workshop space and the steady 12 deg C under the earth can be used to heat the building in winter and cool it in summer. The former flooded mineworking the shafts have been buried in just help in terms of heat transfer to the pipes, and for every 1kWh spent in pumping coolant, 4kWh in energy can be put into the building in heating or cooling. It’s essentially free energy from the earth. The only catch is that there simply aren’t enough companies in the UK who can instal this technology, and who have the kit to drill 100m holes into the ground.
We also looked at the photovoltaic cells in various places around Chesterfield, most notably on the roof of the Queen’s Park Leisure Centre, a truly huge installation of PVs both on the roof, and on transfers stuck onto a glazed section. It’s one of the largest installations of PVs in the country and provides the entire leisure centre with up to two thirds of its energy in the best weather conditions, but around 80 MWh over a year, a huge amount for PVs.
Before we finished the day, we also saw a large installation of PVs on the brand new Coach Station, the working GSHP in the Tourist Info Centre, and of course took time to photograph our visitor standing outside the Crooked Spire.
I’ve been reading about the technologies put into these buildings in Chesterfield for ages, but it was good to go and see them in action, particularly the pump room for the GSHP.