What are they?
Wind turbines generate energy from wind. They come in a variety of designs and sizes. They will only generate energy when the wind blows sufficiently to turn the turbine blades. The speed of the wind is critical to the power output. The energy they generate can be exported back to the grid or used within a building.
Advantages / Disadvantages
Very efficient at generating electricity in locations where wind speeds are consistently high.
A clear statement of the environmental / sustainability credentials of a building.
Micro turbines in urban locations – where wind speeds are typically low or erratic – will produce little energy.
Noise and appearance can make wind turbines unpopular.
The turbine generates electricity which displaces electricity demand from the electricity grid.
Specialist maintenance is required to keep moving parts operating.
Retrofit / improvement opportunities
Retrofitting turbines to the roof of a building will depend on the structure’s ability to withstand the additional loadings in a location that is exposed to the prevailing winds.
Wind turbines have an expected lifetime of 20 years or more.
Wind speed is critical to generating power and therefore wind turbines are only appropriate for buildings on exposed windy sites with sufficient external space to accommodate them. Wind turbines can be noisy, so proximity to other buildings is also an important consideration.
Wind turbines that are attached to buildings may be affected by turbulence close to the edge / roof of the building and as a result their power output may be lower than surrounding wind speeds would indicate.
Wind turbines mounted on buildings can also cause vibration issues within the building.
Floor plate implications
None, however it is important to ensure that there is no risk of ‘flicker’ caused by the blades due to poor positioning of the turbine between the sun and windows, and no noise or vibration transmission into the building..
Require regular servicing to ensure they remain fully operational.
Either roof mounted or ground mounted near to the building.
Questions to ask
- Does the building receive the power that the wind turbine generates?
- What cost / saving does the wind turbine create for the tenant?
- Who is responsible for the cost of maintenance of the turbine?