09/08/2009

New Government Buildings Meet Top Environmental Standard

They may be controversial with the local press, built on a flood plain and utterly alien in looks to the local area but the enormous County Council and Assembly buildings suddenly looming over the eastern approach to Aberystwyth do have one or two things going for them. I’ll cover some of the problems (like how people are going to get to them...) another time. But it’s only fair to highlight that the buildings have been designed with some impressive green energy credentials, with heating and other electricity being provided by a combination of wind energy, solar energy and biomass.

Wind Turbines - It’s the sudden appearance of these, with rotar arms designed for an urban environment, that have made people look up and start to consider that something really innovative might be going on.

Solar Panels - spaced along each roof are a row of seven south-facing solar panels to provide hot water for the buildings.

Bio Mass Heating – Situated on the other side of the railway line from the buildings, the biomass plant provides heating at 2 pence per kilowatt hour as opposed to the current 10p per kw in the council buildings being used now. It’s hoped that the nearby Plas Crug Leisure Centre and Ysgol Penweddig can also be connected up to this from next summer.

All these, along with passive solar design and high insulation standards, combine to bring the buildings into the top, ‘excellent’, category of the BREEAM standard – the system used to rate the environmental performance of non-domestic buildings. As time goes by all these energy-saving measures will give a substantial financial saving compared to the current Council accommodation in various converted 18th and 19th century houses dotted around the town centre.

The opening ceremony for the Council building will be conducted on September 9th with staff moving in during week commencing 25th September. Once they’ve worked out how to get there staff will be able to sit at their desks knowing that they’re working in what will probably be the most energy-efficient council offices in Wales.

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