Energy efficiency in buildings has become much more important following recent amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations, governing heat gain and loss.
Designers must ensure that the building is thermally efficient - no mean feat considering the extensive use of glazing in this structure. WSP Buildings, responsible for mechanical and electrical design, has answered the challenge by installing a combined heat and power plant (CHP). 'A gas supply will be fed directly from the main into the plant, which acts like a large engine. The movement of this engine is then used to spin a generator, producing electricity, ' says WSP lead mechanical engineer Alex Kniveton.
Efficiencies are gained by using heat from the engine to produce a domestic hot water supply for the hotel and the residential accommodation, plus heating the complex's swimming pool. The plant will also be used as a standby power source to maintain fire alarms and lifts if mains power fails. This CHP plant is 76% efficient. Typical electrical efficiency from a power station to consumer is less than 30%.