Cutting carbon emissions has become a central criterion in new railway construction, including at Old Oak Common depot in West London from where the new Crossrail fleet will be maintained.
But in order to receive planning permission, Taylor Woodrow worked with design partners G.I Energy and NG Bailey to devise a solution to meet the planning consent threshold for green energy production at the site and carbon dioxide savings.
An imaginative and effective solution was found by providing an integrated package that included not only energy saving technologies, but also tapped into low carbon energy sources.
Low energy LED lighting was installed across the site while solar thermal panels are supported by gas-fired boilers in the production of hot water. Space heating and cooling is provided by an extensive underfloor heating system beneath the workshop, supplied by ground source heat pump technology.
366 geothermal piles and 52 deep bores were dug to supply the heat pumps with thermal energy stored in the London Clay lying below, while excess heat can be piped away and released into the ground. A combined heat and power (CHP) plant has also been incorporated into the design as an additional source of electrical power and space heating.
Boosting the facility’s green credentials further still is a 1500m2 solar PV array on the workshop roof.
The direct benefits of this system comfortably exceed the planning requirements for the building by reducing carbon dioxide production by 65% (compared to the required 20%) and supplying 50% of the building’s energy requirements from renewable sources (compared to 20%).
Most impressively, a capital expenditure of £700,000 will generate a reduction in operating costs of £10m over the lifetime of the project – providing a 1500% return on investment.
“Sustainability is very clearly at the heart of Taylor Woodrow’s organisational and business vision. In the case of Old Oak Common, what they have done – in broad terms – is to integrate a number of sustainable energy systems to create an intelligent energy management system that will switch from one heating or cooling source to another depending on the external environment.
“This entry hit all the criteria, particularly transferability, with this kind of thinking capable of bringing significant cost benefits to the whole rail industry, and is a very worthy winner.”