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London gets UK’s deepest energy piles

Foundation contractor Cementation Skanska is currently installing the UK’s deepest ever energy piles at NEO Bankside in London, a Native Land and Grosvenor development of 229 luxury apartments designed by architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

The 52m-deep, 1.5m-diameter rotary-bored foundation piles double up as an integral part of a ground-source heating and cooling system which will extract heat from the ground during winter and exhaust heat back to the ground during summer.

The system means NEO Bankside, which is situated adjacent to the Tate Modern, will achieve the 10% renewable energy requirement for major London developments purely on the basis of ground-source heating and cooling.

In operation an antifreeze-based solution circulated through connected loops of HDPE piping embedded within the foundation piles takes on the temperature of the ground, which is warm in winter and cool in summer.

Heat exchangers magnify these small temperature differentials to provide a very energy efficient system of heating and cooling the building. The Skanska trade marked Energy Pile system produces approx four units of heating/cooling energy for every unit of electrical energy used to run it. Collectively the scheme’s 130 energy piles will contribute 760 kW of heating and 650kW of cooling energy to the development.

Working for main contractor Carillion, Cementation Skanska’s energy piles are not just the deepest, but also the first time that pile loops have been installed in a bentonite-supported pile bore.

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