Howbery Business Park’s focus on sustainability attracting tenants

December 25th, 2012 by HR Wallingford Group Ltd

A field of photovoltaic panels that power Howbery Business Park in Oxfordshire (click image to expand - image courtesy of HR Wallingford Group Ltd)

The UK’s first solar-powered business park has revealed significant energy and carbon savings in its first year since installing 3,000 ground solar panels.

Oxfordshire-based Howbery Business Park, which counts the UK’s Environment Agency among its tenants, powered 34% of its park with solar energy from April to September 2012, beating its initial forecast of 25%.

The solar park has generated 730,000 kWh in its first 12 months, preventing 400 tonnes of CO2 from being released to the atmosphere. It has fed more than 116,000 kWh to the National Grid to date.

“Solar energy has proved to be a highly effective alternative energy source for our park,” John Ormston, Chief Executive, Howbery Business Park, said.

“We’re committed to building on the success achieved so far by introducing additional energy efficiency measures on site, including the decentralisation of our main steam boiler.”

“We also plan to investigate further renewable energy options for the future, including additional investment in solar energy generation.”

Howbery Business Park opted to use the efficient ground-mounted solar array in 2011 as part of its ongoing strategy to be one of the region’s most sustainable business parks. The system provides 748kW of electricity at peak output.

With a rigorous approach to monitoring its energy usage, site owner HR Wallingford is using high precision automatic sub-metering technology from t-mac technologies to build a detailed picture of its electricity usage, as well as the proportion of energy generated via the solar park.

“We can rapidly pinpoint peak usage times and high usage buildings in real time, which allows us to continually review and improve our energy efficiency measures,” John Ormston said.

“We report monthly on our progress and regularly discuss new measures to help ensure a constant path of progression towards energy self-sufficiency.”

The park’s keen focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency has been welcomed by its tenants and is visibly attracting new tenants to the park, with many commenting on the park’s progressive approach to sustainability as a key reason for locating their businesses within its grounds.

“Howbery’s newly created solar park was the primary reason for us deciding to locate our business at the site,” said Paddy Thompson, General Manager Business Development at Ceramic Fuel Cells.

“The park ticked all the boxes in terms of both its commitment to sustainability and its rural surroundings.

HR Wallingford’s focus on improving the energy efficiency of the park complements our own focus on commercialising energy efficient fuel cells, and provides the perfect backdrop for our activities.”

Substantial development opportunities exist at Howbery Business Park, with planning permission granted for 140,000 ft² of office space and space available from 12,000 ft² , together with a sophisticated building that will mirror the BREAAM-rated building constructed for the Environment Agency.

Any new developments will be planned in line with Howbery’s keen emphasis on sustainability.

Howbery Park’s commitment to solar energy is one of a number of sustainability initiatives to be outlined in its forthcoming 2013 sustainability strategy.

Please visit the Howbery Business Park website for further information.


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