This project will monitor 23 rooftop wind installations on a variety of urban and rural sites over 12 months, starting in 2007. In addition, public opinion surveys will be conducted before and after the project to establish whether the installations have any impact on attitudes to energy efficiency and climate change.
The aim is to collect and publish objective data on performance when the systems are used by real families and homeowners. We will also explore how easy it is to get systems installed on houses and what the barriers and real costs are. Most importantly, we aim to discover what impact installing these systems has on awareness of energy efficiency in the households with the systems and amongst members of the local community.
The capital cost of the project is funded by the home and property owners who are participating, supported by government grants from the DTI where applicable.
The research element of the project is funded by the Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust and BRE Trust, and the project is being co-ordinated and run by Encraft, working in partnership with Action21, Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council.
A publicly-accessible systems are installed at Princes Drive Recycle Warehouse in Leamington Spa and Hill Close Gardens in Warwick, along with educational materials and a feedback facility. This will enable all members of the community to see a system close up, and to provide comments to the project.
An interim report on the project's progress was published in early 2007, largely covering the experiences of securing supplies of the systems, working through planning, and getting installations completed. This report also contains detailed analysis of the initial feedback and results of the first public opinion survey.
A second report is due for publication in Autumn 2007, and the final report, published in late 2008, will contain a full years' technical data from the monitoring trials, including energy generated and actual windspeed data for the monitored sites.
After much turbulence and challenge obtaining turbines, which has been common across the market, the trial has ended up with 14 Ampair 600 systems, 5 Windsave WS1000, 1 Eclectic Stealthgen 400, 1 Swift 1.5kW and 3 Zephyr AirDolphin systems (23 + 1 spare). The sites range from Aberdeen to Cornwall but 10 are in Warwick as originally planned.
The locations inclued three tower blocks, a number of gable end installations in different contexts, a steel framed building and a timber-framed ecohouse.
Monitoring equipment records windspeed and electrical energy generated at each site, so that actual outputs can be compared to theoretical predictions (using industry standard methods). On 13 sites we are also recording energy consumed by the inverters (i.e., the turbine system itself).
The long gestation period of the project and difficulties obtaining turbines means that consistent data is only available across all sites from October 2007. Prior to this many sites lacked turbines to monitor.