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Wind powers new research centre

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Two large wind turbines installed at the Univer- sity of Sheffield promise to offset carbon emis- sions from a newly built, steel framed research facility for at least 20 years.

The wind turbines have been installed to gen- erate power for the university’s new Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and will feed excess energy generated back to the National Grid. The site benefits from average wind speeds of 5.3m/s and the turbines are expected to gen- erate 600,000 kWh of electricity every year. Each twin blade turbine is 30m in diameter and is mounted on a conical tubular steel tower with a hub height of 40m.

Reversible ground source heat pumps make use of some of the renewable electricity gener- ated by the wind turbines. The heat pumps pro- vide low grade hot water, used to supply an un- derfloor heating system, and offers chilled water in the summer for cooling.

Buro Happold’s Leeds office was responsible for the design of the civil and structural engineering and building services of the new research centre. It also provided specialist consultancy for BREEAM, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.

The building features a steel braced frame arrangement which reduces the size and weigh of internal columns and removes the need to use moment connections within the structural frame. Stability is achieved through the diaphragm ac- tion of the floor slab, and horizontal trusses in the roof transfer lateral loads to braced bays located throughout the building.

“This project has allowed us to show that we can achieve carbon neutrality using well proven technology,” said Buro Happold’s Project Lead- er Jason Gardner. “This is a high quality facility that meets all the needs of our client, yet treads lightly on the planet.”

Working on behalf of main contractor Bow- mer & Kirkland, Conder Structures fabricated and erected all structural steelwork for the project.

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