BRE takes detailed look at rooftop turbine positioning

Putting a wind turbine on top of a tall building is a highly visual way to shout about its green credentials, but minor changes in rooftop positioning can make a world of difference when it comes to actual energy generation.

Built environment experts BRE have been putting their wind tunnel to good use, measuring speed and turbulence over thousands of spots on the roofs of a series of scale models representing high rise and medium rise buildings.

The results have been published in a new report from the organisation, Building-Mounted Micro-Wind Turbines on High-Rise and Commercial Buildings.

“There is an increasing trend to mount wind turbines on the roofs of tall buildings, where they have the potential to generate useful levels of energy due to the advantages from increased wind resource at these heights and the reduced shelter and turbulence from surrounding buildings,” said Paul Blackmore, author of the report.

“However, without guidance, it is not easy for planners to determine the most effective locations for placing wind turbines. As a result, this potential renewable energy source is not always used most effectively, and inappropriate placement can lead to an ineffective installation with severely limited power generation possibilities.”

UK government policy requires that all future non-residential or mixed-use developments above 1000 m2 will be expected to provide at least 10% of their energy requirements from on-site renewable energy generation.

Wind energy produced from building-mounted wind turbines could be expected to provide a proportion of this renewable energy.

Sam Bond

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