What is the Renewable Energy Situation in the UK?
The UK government, as many countries governments in the world, is committed to meet green targets in 2020 and it is taking action in order to reduce carbon emissions in the environment. The government has first turned to wind power, however it has to face the issues of unstable energy provision since energy produced by this means depends on the wind speed and the time of wind blowing. Therefore, there may be up and downs in the energy production that may not meet the population needs and push the price of this energy source up, further increasing the overall price of the resources. Another problem also depends on the fact that wind farms can be built only in some places and they need space to be installed. In order to find a solution for these problems, the government has searched for alternative renewable resources. Castle Howard and Howsham Mill are two notable examples of efficient energy use.
Castle Howard (North Yorkshire)
The Castle have been used by Howard family for a long time and it consists of 145 rooms that were not provided with proper insulation nor the lights were the most efficient. During the last renovation, LED lamps have been introduced and a ground source heat pump has been installed, whose pipes source heat from the water of the lakes that are on the property.Ground source heat pumps work similarly to refrigerant elements in a common fridge, the only difference being the fact that the cycle in reversed. Hot air from either the ground or the water is pumped and, going through the refrigeration cycle, it is transformed into hot air that is released in the building. This process is very efficient as it allows to produce three or four times the energy inputted. The system built in the Castle is set in a way that nor too much heat or humidity are released so that the interiors and the art works are not damaged.
Howsham Mill (on river Derwent, North Yorkshire)
This mill was built in the 18th century and used for many years both for flour production and animal breeding and it was finally abandoned in 1947. Years later, a couple looking for a house, Dave Mann and Mo MacLeod, bought it and decided to restore it to the ancient power and transform it into an hydro-electric plant. The place is currently used as an education center as it is self-sufficient in terms of energy needed, while the unused energy is sold to the State and the money earned is invested to make the education centre run. What strikes about this building is that, although it seems as a 1947 mill from the outside, it is equipped with double glazing, proper insulation and self-produced electricity.