Eden Project Phase 4 Education Resource Centre the Core

In the spring of 2006 the Core was completed (see Fig. 15.8). The design by Grimshaw Architects is heavy with symbolism such as its overall form based on the Ethiopian Tree of Knowledge where people would congregate to receive knowledge passed down from the elders. The spiral gridshell of the roof reflects the arrangement of florets at the centre of the sunflower which conforms to 'Fibonacci phylotaxis'. The Fibonacci series popularized in the thirteenth century is a sequence where each successive number is the product of the two previous numbers. It is linked with aesthetics in that the ratio between any two numbers generates the golden section ratio (1: 1.618...) to ever more decimal places the higher the Fibonacci numbers.1

Figure 15.8 Eden Project Education Resource Centre - the Core (courtesy of Peter Cook/VIEW, Grimshaw Architects)

Its 350 m2 of photovoltaic cells are, coincidentally, analogous to photosynthesis, and earth ducts supplying either warm or cool air suggest the roots of a tree. Grimshaw teamed up with services engineers Buro Happold to maximize the sustainability credentials of the building such as:

• recycled ground water for toilets

• anaerobic digester producing compost from food waste

• recycled cellulose insulation

• passive cooling except for spaces of high occupancy

• low-energy lighting

The heart of the sustainability agenda is the biomass boiler. The original intention was to tap into the three 3 MW boilers of the main energy centre. Buro Happold recommended that an alternative would be a biomass boiler of 300 kW capacity; more than enough to cope with the Core's peak demand of 250 kW It was calculated that such a boiler would operate on average at full load for 10 hours a day delivering about 1100 MWh of heat a year. With a combustion efficiency of 80% this meant a fuel energy input of —1370 MWh/yr. The fuel mix would consist of:

• woodland residue from 320 ha of managed forests within a 10 km radius

• short rotation coppice willow —30 ha within a 5 km radius

The inauguration of the Core coincided with massive rises in the price of gas, which has greatly improved the cost-effectiveness of the biomass boiler. This has been accentuated by the fact that the Eden overall site load is less than 300 kW for over 60% of the year. This meant that the 3 MW boilers were operating well below their peak capacity and therefore

Ventilation Strategies:

Ventilation Strategies:

Figure 15.9 Heating, cooling and ventilation strategy, the Core (courtesy of Buro Happold, Services Engineers)

were inefficient. Consequently, integrating the 300 kW boiler into the main system could result in much reduced operating costs (see Chapter 8).

The big environmental benefit is that the biomass boiler saves around 200,000 kg of CO2 per year.

Overall this is a building which succeeds in achieving an excellent synthesis between function, symbolism, aesthetic quality and a near carbon neutral energy footprint. Congratulations all round.

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.

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