SOLAR RENEWABLE ENERGY AND NATURAL LIGHTING RETROFITTING INTO BUILDING AT SCOTLAND
A Project to retrofit solar renewable energy and natural lighting into the Environment, Natural Resources & Planning (ENRP) Building at Scotland, St Paul’s, has recently been completed (see photos attached).
The Project was announced by His Excellency the Governor at the Queen’s Birthday Garden Party at Plantation House in June 2021 and was designed by Environmental Risk Manager, Mike Durnford.
“Solar renewable energy systems with battery storage are well known but solar tubes technology less so. Solar tubes (also known as tubular skylights or sun tunnels) give an unobtrusive way to brighten the darker areas of buildings with soft, natural light. On a sunny day, one 10-inch solar tube provides around the same amount of light as three 100-watt bulbs. That’s enough to illuminate a 200 sq. ft. room well enough for office work. The ENRP building’s poor design results in limited natural light, with obtrusive and costly strip lighting (49 in total) throughout all offices and the reception area. Natural light is known to have positive health benefits and can stimulate a workforce resulting in greater productivity and outputs.”
The overall Project aimed to reduce the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions created on-Island by making better use of natural light, ensuring that the protection and enhancement of the Island’s natural heritage is at the heart of economic development, in order to maintain a good quality of life for residents now and in the future.
The Project, which was funded through the Climate Change strand of the FCDO’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) Overseas Territories Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Program has been wholly completed within time, scope and budget. Whilst delay was experienced in the receipt and subsequent installation and connection of the solar renewable energy system, due to unavoidable shipping delay to the Island, the building was already expending less energy through timely installation of the sun tunnels and a change in behaviour by building users, who were used to having to switch on lights in poorly lit areas.
Mike Durnford further commented;
“Whilst the benefits of a solar renewable energy system with battery storage are invisible (except on utility bills), the benefits of the sun tunnels are more apparent as less internal lighting is being used, whilst filling internal areas with natural light. There appears to be a sense of pride amongst building users when hosting visitors and showcasing the modern technologies the building now boasts.”
A further 49 sun tunnels are due to be installed into the building (and other buildings within the complex). These will be installed using ENRP’s recurrent budget and in-part, some of the savings the existing systems have generated. Once installed building users could be operating almost ‘off grid’.
The core benefits of the Project included:
A decrease in the cost of electricity to operate the ENRP building.
Solar tubes are subtle design elements that add natural light without calling attention to themselves, bringing more light into offices without altering the building’s architecture.
The publicity surrounding this Project will highlight the ‘green’ efforts of SHG within the global context of climate change mitigation. The Project also aims to increase the knowledge of and benefits for using solar renewable energy and natural light throughout business and homes whilst positively impacting on the environment.
The Project aligned with:
Ø The COP 26 theme of Adaptation and Resilience
Ø The St Helena Climate Change Policy (2019) objective ‘Identify and prioritize measures to reduce and minimize GHG emissions’
Ø The Altogether Greener Goal of St Helena’s 10 Year Plan. The Altogether Greener goal not only focuses on the preservation of our land wildlife, marine and built heritage, but also on how we can advance in terms of renewable power and utilising technology to deliver better green social economic outcomes including better management of our waste
Ø The St Helena’s Sustainable Economic Development Plan (2018-2028) Goal 6 ‘Sustain and improve our Natural Capital by maintaining and enhancing St Helena’s exceptional environment, landscape, heritage and cultural qualities for this generation and the next’
Ø Supports ENRP’s Strategic Priority ‘Protect the natural environment by conserving biodiversity, preventing, minimizing or mitigating against any negative activity and/or impact, to conserve and enhance the Island’s natural capital’.
#StHelena #RenewableEnergy #AltogetherGreener