Energy-efficient heating for the UK’s largest bioscience campus
Alderley Park is one of the best-invested bioscience R&D sites in Europe. The 400-acre facility includes specialised labs, offices and equipment. It also houses some of the world’s most skilled and experienced scientists.
The park is going through a ten-year transformation to introduce new leisure and retail facilities. BuroHappold Engineering was engaged to create a pioneering, energy efficient heating strategy to support this growth. Our experts assessed the existing high-pressure hot water network and we also provided a long-term strategy to boost efficiency.
A key challenge for our team involved the need to prepare a huge amount of data and present it to the client in an easily-digestible format. There was also the question of what to do with the large cost of assets related to the current heat network. We had to establish whether or not to keep the existing network of pipes on site.
We recommended changing the existing system, which is served by gas fired boilers, to a fifth-generation ambient loop network. This is a highly innovative heating network that works at a much lower temperature than normal. It’s equipped with reversible heat pumps that exchange heat with the network when it’s needed. This created an intelligent network that greatly reduces energy transportation losses. Our engineers also engaged with the client’s preferred heat pump suppliers to make sure we could connect the pumps to the network without affecting the equipment.
The strategy we offered has many environmental benefits. Some of the positives include: reduced energy consumption and costs, decreased carbon emissions, and less reliance on fossil fuels. Our approach harnesses the local environment by using the Radnor Mere and below ground sandstone aquifer as heat reservoirs, and aligns with government targets to decarbonise existing building stock. This will be the first campus-level fifth generation heat network in the UK and will save 74% of carbon emissions – equivalent to 350,000 tonnes of CO2 – over a 40-year period.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply