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Kilbride Group - Proposal for Shipton Quarry, Oxfordshire

Working for Kilbride Properties, Rolton Group provided the engineering and energy input into the plans for a new Eco Town near Oxford.

The team included experts from blue-chip advisors on architecture, traffic and infrastructure, hydrology, land contamination, landscaping, ecology and rail engineering. The scheme proposed the redevelopment of a disused quarry at Shipton on Cherwell into a town that would provide more than 5,000 new homes including affordable and key worker housing plus new schools and community facilities.

Rolton’s energy strategy for the development was based on the concept of the zero carbon development. The strategy makes best use of the site’s characteristics, which include an adjacent river, a high water table, an excellent electricity grid connection, and equally high quality rail and road transport links. Not surprisingly, the strategy relies on the efficient use of energy from renewable resources such as biomass and bioenergy, photovoltaic and heat pumps with back-up heating and grid connection arrangements to cover the event of a local plant failure.

The key to the energy system for the town is in its self-sufficiency and its integral fit with the surrounding natural resources. Energy consumption is minimised by design and reduced in flow by the use of heat pump technology. Power is generated from local renewable agricultural sources and from waste from the development, and delivered to the development by hard wire and to the grid with benefit to the local area. Co-generated heat is employed usefully where it can be delivered efficiently and in a balanced manner.

Spare heat is extracted by air source heat pumps and used for the benefit of local agriculture including market gardening. Anaerobic digestion uses the power of gases created from animal waste such as pig slurry and chicken litter. An anaerobic digestion plant would be employed for part of the development power requirement using a mixed additional feedstock of locally grown energy crops, vegetable oils and local food chain waste. The fertiliser produced as a by-product of the process can be used locally on farmland. The strategy also called for the provision of a Biomass power station fuelled by wood straw and other suitable organic material. At the same time, photovoltaic power cells would contribute to the town’s energy requirements as would ground source heat pumps which can be used for both heating and cooling.

Says Peter Rolton, who worked on the project:

“It’s important to understand the projected energy requirements of the development and then to create an integrated approach to energy and sustainability that draws together established technologies to create a zero carbon town. Our model for Shipton on Cherwell shows how it’s possible to combine an array of various technologies to match the needs of a major development, not just in terms of consumption but also in terms of waste and features of the local environment such as agriculture. Legislation will have a profound effect on the way that we develop places for people to live and work, from here on in, and this strategy is a clear pointer to the way forward, where joined-up thinking is going to be vitally important.”