Durham University Leads the Way with Environmentally Efficient Building
Durham University was founded in 1836, is one of Britain’s top 3 universities, and is listed as one of the world’s top 100 universities. It currently has approximately 12000 students who study in the numerous historical buildings of the sprawling campus. The new Palatine Centre was built to bring together all the administrative services of the university that had previously been scattered around the city. Having the management team, academic office, communications department, IT help desk and international office under one roof will make the organization more efficient and effective.
The Palatine Centre was designed with sustainability in mind, and incorporates sedum roofing, TiSUN solar thermal collectors, photovoltaic panels, air source heat pumps, solar shading and rainwater harvesting. It has been awarded a BREEAM “Excellent” rating which underlines the achievement of the environmental and sustainability ambitions. Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: “The Palatine Centre is the centrepiece of our ambitious plan to ensure our entire built environment befits a World Top-100 University.”
The staff and students who use the building which includes a cafeteria use water that has been heated by a TiSUN solar thermal system. 65 m² of TiSUN’s large-scale collectors have been installed on the roof of the Palatine centre facing directly south in order to optimise the solar gain. The collectors are different sizes, ranging from 4 metres long to 6 metres long, arranged in arrays of 4 to 12 metres in length in order to follow the semi-circular shape of the building. The collectors are mounted on 40º A-frames using TiSUN’s flat-roof solution.
The heat collected is transferred to a TiSUN stratified Pro-Clean cylinder which is situated a floor below the collectors. The cylinder has a capacity of 2500 litres to cope with the high demand of the building’s occupants.
The solar system was installed by the respected Stockton-on-Tees contractor Geoffrey Robinson Ltd. The Project Engineer for the Palatine Centre, Richard Corcoran, was pleased with the result: “The TiSUN large scale collectors were far easier to install than if we had used smaller, domestic-sized collectors. The reason that TiSUN was chosen as a partner on this project was not just for the products that are suited to commercial applications, but because TiSUN have the design and implementation experience with commercial projects. The Pro-Clean cylinder is unique because it offers solar stratification, which maximises solar gain, and at the same time guarantees Legionella-free domestic hot water.”
The Pro-Clean stratified cylinder is implemented as a solar pre-heat for domestic hot water which then flows to gas-fired boilers to bring the temperature up to 60 ºC if required. It is anticipated that the solar system will provide 50% of the annual domestic hot water demand, providing 70% during most of the summer but on some days 100% of the domestic hot water will have been heated entirely by the solar collectors.
Geoff Miller, sales director for TiSUN in the UK, is excited about the data that will come from the installation. “The TiSUN controller logs all data on the system, and stores this data for analysis. We will be able to monitor exactly what the temperatures of the various components are, and use the data to fine-tune the system parameters. It is exciting to be involved in a project as prestigious as the Durham University Palatine Centre, as it is a serious renewable building.”
TiSUN has been developing, producing and selling complete systems for the utilisation of solar heating energy for over two decades. The solar systems provide 100% independent, infinitely available, free solar energy for backup heating, water heating, process heat and cooling. Known as Europe's solar heating specialist, TiSUN has an export quota of 83%. The company employs a workforce of 120 at the main location in Tyrol/Austria and 90 sales personnel in Europe. TiSUN products are available in 44 markets in the EU27 and candidate countries, Switzerland, the former CIS states, the USA, MENA and India. All serially produced solar collectors feature multiple certifications. In addition to the Solar Keymark, which is valid across Europe, and the Austria Solar Seal of Quality, quality certifications from five other countries confirm the high standard of the products. The ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Test Certificate verifies that both product and service quality levels are especially high. Since 2010, the company has also been certified under the international environmental management standard ISO 14001.
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