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The 19th century stable yard

The 19th century stable yard
NTPL Zoë Colbeck

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Morden Hall Park looks fantastic in the sunshine, and plenty of visitors are out and about enjoying the beautiful weather. Our Easter Egg Hunt kicks off today too - let's hope the weather stays sunny for the next days of the event on Saturday, Sunday and Monday!

This week the two Zoës (Zoë Colbeck, Property Manager and Zoë Adams, Community Projects Manager) took a trip to our Livinggreen partner project in Ludwigsburg to catch up with the other project teams.

The team in Ludwigsburg are hard at work transforming a listed Flak-hall building (an old barracks gym) to be a demonstration of sustainable reconstruction. They're using a clever 'house-in-house' technique to protect the historic shell of the building, whilst the building inside will allow for innovative energy saving techniques. All very clever stuff! The Flak-hall is going to be a new child and family centre for Ludwigsburg, and it's great to think of the future generations who will be inspired by this eco building. Here's a picture of the outside of the building.

We also had the opportunity to take a quick stroll in the beautiful Baroque gardens surrounding Ludwigsburg Palace.

Finally, our hospitable hosts gave us the chance to try some local Ludwigsburg culture, after all, when in Germany...

Happy Easter from Morden Hall Park!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Lime - naturally green

The third in our series of taster days took place last week. This time the focus was on lime plaster with an informative and accessible presentation by Nigel from The Lime Centre, followed by an on-site demonstration of lime plastering.

Besides learning about the benefits of using lime in historic building projects such as the Heart of the Park project, the non-chemists among us also learnt about an additional benefit which is particularly relevant to our project. Cement and lime both give off considerable amounts of CO2 in production but unlike lime, which reabsorbs between 45% and 61% of CO2 per ton depending on the strength grade, cement does not reabsorb any CO2 as it dries. Some of the new, low energy materials that we are using in the renovation actually contain a large amount of embodied carbon. Lime, however, is one product that wears its green credentials on its sleeve.

Friday, 8 April 2011

PV-T: 2-4-1 solar power

The sun is shining which makes it the perfect day (apart from yesterday and with any luck the weekend as well) to introduce the latest addition to the stable yard: an array of 22 Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) panels.  These innovative solar panels, manufactured by Newform Energy , have now been installed on the south-facing roof of the stable yard. 

A PV-T panel is a single solar collector or panel which generates electricity and heats water. It does this by combining a photovoltaic (PV) collector with a high efficiency solar thermal collector underneath. 

Strange as it sounds, PV collectors work most effectively at lower temperatures. Less hard to believe, especially on a sunny day like today, is that the surface temperature on the collector can reach 100˚C on a sunny summer’s day in England. At this temperative, the collector's efficiency is greatly reduced with the result that it could produce as little as 10% of its maximum output. 

The magic of the PV-T is that the thermal collector uses a fluid cooling system to draw excess heat away from the PV collector and therefore improve its efficiency. This excess heat is then used to heat water which will be used in the stable yard in under-floor heating and for handwashing.

Although bulkier than conventional PV panels, PV-T have the advantage of being up to 40% more efficient than the conventional PV panels which have been installed on the west facing roof. 

The PV-T on the south-facing roof. NTPL/Nancy Falloon
The PV-T, PV panels and PV slates will be commissioned (wired up) later on in the renovation work.