The Beaufort Court Energy Trail
Welcome to Beaufort Court, a ground breaking refurbishment of a disused egg farm into a state-of-the-art eco-friendly head office for the RES Group.
As well as extending and renovating the buildings using high standards of energy efficiency and sustainable design techniques, we have installed a range of renewable energy technologies on-site. These provide heat, power and cooling to our offices without polluting the atmosphere.
Follow the Energy Trail to find out more about the clean, green energy technologies we have installed at Beaufort Court.
(Note: click on the numbers below to receive more information)
The structure that houses the solar array has been sunk into the ground to make it less conspicuous. With a solid earth rear wall (clad with a gabion structure) and open sides, it is a naturally cool space which can be put to a number of uses.
ENERGY FROM THE SUN
The large array of solar panels provides both heat and electricity for the office buildings. It comprises 116m2 of solar thermal panels to heat water, and 54m2 of innovative hybrid photovoltaic/thermal panels (PVT) that convert daylight to electricity as well as heating water. The heat from the thermal panels is used to heat the building.
Innovative solar slates have been developed with similar properties to roofing slates. They are fully weather proof and, unlike traditional solar panels, blend in with standard roof slates to provide an aesthetically pleasing solar panel roof. Solar Slates are ideal for use in conservation areas, on historic buildings, new builds or renovation projects.
POWER FROM THE WIND
Our 225kW wind turbine, is 50m tall to the blade tip and generates enough electricity to power up to 40 homes. It was manufactured in 1995, though RES bought it second hand in 2003. Quiet and efficient, it saves the emission of harmful greenhouse gases by harnessing the natural power of the wind.
5 hectares of an energy crop called miscanthus, or 'Elephant Grass', is grown here. Although it is not suitable for our biomass boiler, it is sent to be burned at power stations to provide low-carbon electricity. The CO2 emitted during combustion is re-absorbed as the crop grows again, and the emissions associated with managing this crop are very low.
SOLAR THERMAL HEAT STORE
When it is warm and we don't need to use the heat generated by the solar panels, it is stored in a huge underground heat store comprising 1400m3 of water with an insulated lid. In colder months, this warm water is used to pre-heat air that is circulated around the office building. Further heating comes from our biomass boiler.
PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN
The original 'horseshoe' shaped building was designed to create light, airy and hygienic conditions for the chicks reared on the egg farm. Today, this has been enhanced through clever design to make maximum use of sunlight, natural cooling and ventilation. Techniques include large windows, rooflights, a bright interior design, a green roof for insulation, and deciduous tree planting for natural shading.
Fuelled by wood pellets, our biomass boiler generates heat for the offices in addition to our solar thermal system. The Binder boiler is 86% efficient and fuel is delivered approximately every two months. The CO2 emitted is equivalent to that absorbed by the trees when they were growing, so this is a low-carbon source of heating.
Beaufort Court is cooled naturally by cool water extracted from the local underground aquifer via a 75m deep borehole. It is pumped from the ground at 12oC and it is used to cool the air coming into the building. The water absorbs heat from the air and the warmer water is used to irrigate the energy crop. This water will percolate down through the layers of rock back into the chalk aquifer.