Claim: 'missed opportunity' to be carbon neutral at Great Notley
Piers Meyler, Local Democracy Reporting Service
- Credit: Archant
Essex County Council has missed an opportunity to create a building that is totally carbon neutral, opposition councillors have claimed.
A new heating system is being installed at The Discovery Centre, in Great Notley Country Park.
It is part of an £6.2 million award given to Essex County Council by the Government for five projects.
Air source heat pumps, solar panels and battery storage will be installed in two of the highest energy consuming sites managed by the council, in addition to the installation of air source heat pump at Great Notley Country Park.
Double glazing and solar panels will also be installed at a range of core sites and schools.
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An air source heat pump system, which works much like a fridge operating in reverse, can help to lower a building’s carbon footprint as it uses a renewable, natural source of heat – air.
But they need a power source, usually electricity, so there will still be some resulting CO2 emissions.
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There had been plans a single large 1.5MW wind turbine at the centre providing the electricity requirements for over 800 homes but this was cancelled due to funding concerns.
Braintree District Councillor James Abbott (Green Party, Silver End and Cressing) said: “They could have gone for something bigger and a building that is totally carbon neutral.
“To make it carbon neutral you need to be generating electricity in other ways and the two other are wind and probably battery solar.
“Solar is a good option and then you have the increasingly efficient technology in battery storage.
“It could be a building which has cutting edge technology to prove you can have an entire building of that scale running carbon neutrally.”
A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “The air source heat pump at Great Notley Country Park is part of a wider programme to reduce carbon by removing gas usage across Essex County Council’s sites.
“As the project is still at planning stage, final costs are still to be agreed but the project will be partly funded by a Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund grant worth approximately £165,000.
“The air source heat pump will draw power from the large solar installation on site, which to date has generated over 95,000kWh of energy, enough to offset the whole site’s usage for a year.
“Other initiatives at Great Notley have included LED lighting, solar panels and grey water harvesting with reed bed filtration.
"It is predicted that the site itself will be carbon neutral for periods of the year.”