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Scottish eco office packs in solar glass, sun pipes and more

Post Time:Sep 16,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:493

Ever wondered what the green office of the future looks like? Wonder no more, as the new Scottish HQ of building services company NG Bailey has packed in virtually every eco tech under the sun. Step this way to take the tour.

Solar foyer
The main entrance to the building, called Solais House, faces south and so gets a larger amount of sunlight than the other aspects of the office. The exterior wall of the foyer (pictured above) is almost completely photovoltaic glass, which generated 350kWh over the first six and a half weeks since the building came into operation. The glass costs £750 per square metre.

The glass is manufactured with integrated solar cells, with the cells acting as a shade for the sunniest side of the building. 

Naturally bright
The air conditioning of Solais House relies on a large degree of natural airflow.

The windows open and close automatically by computer, regulating the temperature inside with cooler air from outside. The air is drawn through the building by a similar operation in the skylights.

The building uses an unusually large amount of natural light to offset the energy used to power its low energy LED lighting. Much of the sunlight comes from large amount of skylights enabled by the roof's relatively small air-con system.

Mini weather station
Solais House has its own weather data collection system that uses weather algorithms to adapt the heating, cooling and air refreshment systems in relation to outside conditions.

Free solar heat
Solar thermal collectors on the roof of the building are one of a number of methods used to heat the building's water supply. The system reportedly provides 60 per cent of the energy needed to heat Solais House's domestic water.

The vacuum tubes pictured above are considered one of the more efficient ways of collecting heat from the sun. The vacuum layer means there is very little conducted heat loss through the tubes.

Piping in the sun
The sun is also directed down into the building through sun tubes -- highly polished tubes of aluminium that reflect sunlight on to a diffuser. The light source pictured above left is the result.

The sun tube and the electric light work in tandem, with the latter automatically dimming when the sun comes out.

The building grounds contain a borehole which extends over 100ft below the ground and is used to tap the natural water table. The water is between 12 and 15 degrees centigrade and is compressed to heat it further. It's then passed through a heat exchanger to provide air cooling as well as heating.

The building also has a rainwater harvesting system. The water is used to flush the toilets, which are calibrated to use between two and four litres per flush.

On their own, these energy-saving and energy-generating measures have little effect. Combined, the should save NG Bailey around £3.3m over the building's projected 60-year life.

Source: smartplanetAuthor: shangyi

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