Despite encouraging islanders to make our homes and work places as green as possible, the gov has not done so itself with three of its latest schemes.
John Wannenburgh MHK asked Chair of the Climate Change Transformation Team Daphne Caine MHK whether solar panels were fitted to the roofs of the new Test Centre in Tromode, the Liverpool Ferry Terminal or Ballaugh Primary School.
Shock horror, they weren’t.
Mrs Caine explained that for the Vehicle Testing Centre, the DoI reviewed several options for renewable energy sources but that ‘due to the building orientation and function, these were not suitable from an operation and cost review’. She added: ‘With the building being easterly facing, the benefits from solar would not be maximised, furthermore with the minimal lighting and hot water requirements solar was not cost effective for the project. However, this does not mean solar could not be fitted in the future and fed back in to the networks as space in the plant room has been provided.’
Air source heat pumps were also considered, but they too were deemed not suitable due to the doors for the centre being open for vehicle access. However, the site may benefit from a potential district heating zone.
It’s been a while since we mentioned our favourite white elephant on the Mersey and when it comes to renewable energy, it’s actually quite a mixed bag.
Mrs Caine said that a review of the options was conducted on behalf of the DoI and solar panels were considered appropriate. However, she added that this ‘was not taken forward due to high costs and possible planning restrictions in the siting of the panels’.
Although, the Garff MHK did add: ‘The building has however been constructed with improved fabric performance, improved air tightness and enhanced insulation and Air Source Heat Pumps have been incorporated into the first floor departure lounge and café.’
Ballaugh Primary School
With the primary school, Mrs Caine explained that the works were intended to ‘keep the building weathertight in the first instance and there are no current plans to include renewables’.
However, she added: ‘That being said, DOI and Manx Utilities are finalising a feasibility study to assess the introduction of renewables across the Government estate, including schools, and will establish the best placed buildings and land to place wind or solar and generate renewable electricity.’
Mrs Caine also noted that during the design process for these schemes, the Climate Change Team weren’t consulted with regards to renewable options but that the board does ‘open to receiving funding requests and already have some suitable projects pending consideration’.