Building integrated systems

The Vivo building illustrates one version of a building integrated wind generating system. There is increasing interest in the way that the design of buildings can incorporate renewable technologies including wind turbines. Up to now such machines have been regarded as adjunct to buildings but a concept patented by Altechnica of Milton Keynes demonstrates how multiple turbines can become a feature of the design.

The system is designed to be mounted on the ridge of a roof or at the apex of a curved roof section. Rotors are incorporated in a cage-like structure which is capped with an aerofoil wind concentrator called in this case a 'Solairfoil'. The flat top of the Solairfoil can accommodate PVs. Where the rotors are mounted at the apex of a curved roof the effect is to concentrate the wind in a manner similar to the Croatian cowling (Figure 9.10).

The advantage of this system is that it does not become an over-assertive visual feature and is perceived as an integral design element. It is also a system which can easily be fitted to existing buildings where the wind regime is appropriate. Furthermore it indicates a building which is discretely capturing the elements and working for a living.

The European Union Extern-E study has sought to put a price on the damage inflicted by fossil fuels compared with wind energy. The research has concluded that, for 40 GW of wind power installed by

Figure 9.10

'Aeolian' roof devised by Altechnica

Patented Altechnica Aeolian Roof™ Wind Energy System wind turbine shown is Altechnica SolAirfoil™

Altechnica Wheel Darrieus™ cross flow wind turbine

Patented Altechnica Aeolian Roof™ Wind Energy System

Altechnica Turbine

2010, and with a total investment of Euros 24.8 billion up to 2010, CO2 emissions could be reduced by 54 million tonnes per year in the final year. The cumulative saving would amount to 320 million tonnes CO2 giving avoided external costs of up to Euros 15 billion.

This is the first sign of a revolution in the way of accounting for energy. When the avoided costs of external damage are realistically factored in to the cost of fossil fuels, the market should have no difficulty in switching to renewable energy en masse.

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