cRRescendo Newsletter (spring 2010)


The Milton Keynes project

Milton Keynes is centrally located in the UK, 70 miles North West of London. Elements of the programme, where a holistic approach to urban design has been adopted, include:
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) with private wire network
  • Enhanced building fabric
  • Monitoring
  • Photovoltaics (PV)
  • Future aspirations

Combined Heat and Power

A successful component of the Milton Keynes project has been the delivery of the CHP engine connecting via a private wire network up to many buildings in the city centre.

This installation is now creating an appetite for expansion and an interesting recent development has been the proposal to build a major headquarters building at the former Hockey Stadium. As part of this Thamesway, who operate the CHP network have presented the financial case to the client.

This is currently being considered and negotiated, however it is a good indicator of the confidence now being shown in the ability of the CHP to deliver cost effective heat and power. As this site is outside the original CHP area, the client is not forced to connect to the district system, but are negotiating based on an open financial choice, competitively with other 'business as usual' energy providers.

CHP Images

Enhanced building fabric

These elements include:
  • Orientation
  • U Values
  • Windows
  • Ventilation
  • Air changes per hour
Which are all enhanced over national standards.


The energy consumption data from the CHP will be metered by Thameswey, working with their subsidiary ECSC, in order to generate their customers' bills. The PV systems are also to be equipped with output meters when they are installed.

Non-Technical Monitoring
The requirements for non-technical monitoring and the way in which the technical data will be connected with this is to be developed with United Sustainable Energy Agency (USEA).

Further examination is being made of how more sophisticated data can be extracted from various elements of the scheme.

Domestic Hot Water (DHW) Consumption in C4.1
The basic metering provided by The Energy Centre for Sustainability Consultancy (ECSC) /Thameswey will record the total heat supplied to each dwelling in C4.1. The installation of a second heat meter in a sample of dwellings would allow research into how the use of this heat is divided between space heating and domestic hot water (DHW), and this is currently being examined.

Domestic Hot Water (DHW) in B3.2 : The Pinnacle Building
A breakdown of the division of heat use between space heating and DHW within B3.2 will be of interest and this is currently being examined.

Cooling in B3.2 : The Pinnacle Building
Cooling in the B3.2 Pinnacle building is to be provided by absorption chillers powered by heat supplied by Thameswey. It will be of interest to meter the heat supplied to, and cooling generated by, these chillers. For completeness, metering of cooling provided by electric chillers would also be desirable, and this is being examined at present.

Overall, ESCS are also examining how a higher resolution of data can be cost effectively gained across the scheme to provide indications of how people use energy on a diurnal and weekly basis.

Solar Photovoltaics

An element of the project included delivery of a renewable energy component.

Due to the economic conditions the site intended for the installation, at B4 has not been developed for buildings.

Initially consideration was given to installing the Solar PV panels to be located at ground level on the site, this would be a facility that would be fenced off and managed for solar generation only.

The intention was that when development activity restarted, the solar installation would be temporarily removed and then integrated into the new roof design for the new development. Not surprisingly costs of fencing, lighting, CCTV and security, insurance, together with the estimated costs of removal and reinstallation, in addition to the disturbance to the yields during a potentially lengthy relocation period was seen as prohibitive as well as questionable from a sustainability point of view.

This necessitated an alternative strategy for the PV location:-

It is still the intention that a proportion of the PV installation is located at building C4.1 which is already constructed. The reason for this being that it will be important to capture the social research implications for existing residents and business users in the area.

A large proportion of the installation will now take place on the bus station; a Homes and Communities Agency owned building. It has a community based use in the building, and the partners have been exploring ways in which some sort of community benefit can be gained from the installation, such as free or subsidised electricity for the community use as well as being able to use some of the space in the building for dissemination and education about the project.

In total the installation will provide 165kWp.

Future aspirations

There are wider aspirations for the Milton Keynes area beyond Concerto, including developing a smart electricity grid; this also includes electrification of transportation, particularly focused on electric cars and busses. Harmonisation between the electricity provided from the PV on the bus station and these transportation initiatives are being explored.

In addition to these Concerto components the area was recently a beneficiary of Low Carbon Infrastructure Fund (LCIF) monies which enables bio-gas injection from Anaerobic Digestion back into the gas network at Milton Keynes.

  1. Holistic urban design approach
  2. Improved building construction
  3. Smart meters
  4. Smart Grid
  5. Electric vehicles
  6. Synergies from various renewables
  7. Cultural change

Milton Keynes, Scheme images



The Viladecans project

Viladecans is a coastal community, located 12 kilometres from Barcelona.

Specific innovation involves the balanced integration of eco-building and renewable energy supplies in new development areas with extensive public dissemination of all activities. The city has committed to reducing CO2 emissions: On 1996 elaborated the Agenda 21 and on 1997 Viladecans had been incorporated to 'Barcelona network of towns towards sustainability'. In addition, Viladecans has signed the Declaration of Vilafranca (Towns engaged in preventing climate change) on May 2005 which is an initiative covering the whole Barcelona provincial council. Finally, Viladecans has signed its adhesion to the Covenant of Mayors on 23rd October of 2008. Promotion of future development has been integrated into the community economically and efficiently.

In the frame of cRRescendo, five public buildings will be built or largely refurbished (day care centre, youth cultural centre, historical cultural centre, sports building and municipal building) and 60 new social housing dwelling will be built with high energy efficiency requirements. In the next coming years, the municipality will also install 1 MW of photovoltaic panels in the city and will build 2.000 new dwellings in a new eco-district called Llevant. It is completed with the Solar Norm (approved on 2005 by the Plennary of City Council) that oblige to install solar thermal collectors in new buildings and large refurbished buildings to produce, at least, 60% of hot water needs.

Finally, Viladecans Council is elaborating its Action Plan for Sustainable Energy at the present that contents 143 specific actions for this purpose.

Can Xic is a refurbished ancient country house transformed in a cultural and information centre for young people. The building has an efficient envelope as well as high efficient cooling, heating and lighting. There is a photovoltaic installation of 10,3 kW.

La Pineda Day Nursery is a new building for children from 4 months to 3 years old. The building has a efficient envelope as well as high efficient cooling, heating and lighting. The building has 12,5 m2 of solar panels and 13,9 kW of photovoltaic panels.

The Council is engaged in installing 1MW of photovoltaic panels in the municipality, 342 kW of them are part of cRRescendo project.

It will be constructed a new building with 60 social eco-dwellings

Torre Roja football field has energy efficient facilities: 164 m2 of solar panels.



The Almere EnergyRich districts

In Almere two 'Energy Rich' districts are part of the cRRescendo project (Noorderplassen West and Columbuskwartier). About 2000 new dwellings will be built in three 'Energy Rich' classes:
  • eco-houses: to be built at least 10% more energy sufficient than the building standard at the time of building;
  • solar houses: solar energy plays an important role. The energy performance in these dwellings is 25% better than standard;
  • passive houses: going one step further. These dwellings have an energy performance which is 50% better than standard.

Noorderplassen West: added energy-efficiency and Almere Sun Island

Most cRRescendo dwellings in the district Noorderplassen West are eco-houses.
In this area some private dwellings have PV systems, but the major solar contribution is achieved by the Almere Sun Island.
For the first time homes in the Netherlands will be heated collectively with locally-generated solar energy. The Almere Sun Island is in keeping with the urban planning for the residential area and will become an icon in the Almere landscape. The way the island works is simple: water in the solar collectors is heated by the sun. The heated water will then be pumped directly into the district heating network that will supply heating and hot tap water to the new residential area Noorderplassen West. With a collector area of almost 7,000 m2 the Almere Sun Island will be the fourth largest solar collector field in the world.

The Almere Sun Island is almost completed and will be officially opened on Midsummer day 2010 (Monday 21 June 2010).

Columbuskwartier: supreme CO2 reduction by polygeneration and solar energy

In the second cRRescendo district, Columbuskwartier, about 500 solar houses and passive houses are built. On these and other houses and buildings in the district a total of more than 500 kWp PV panels will be installed.
In realising its objectives, the heat for the 1,000 homes of Columbuskwartier will come from the Diemen 'Combined Heat and Power' (CHP) plant on the other side of lake IJmeer. In this respect the connection of all dwellings and buildings of the spanning district Poort to the district heating system is fed by this CHP system (a new pipeline connection from the 'Diemen' plant will be made through the IJmeer) obtaining a 93% CO2 reduction not only for Columbuskwartier but for the whole Poort district. On top of that the energy company NUON is required to deliver only green electricity in the Poort district.

Excellent example Columbuskwartier: Passive Houses BAM

Before the summer of 2010, 103 Passive Houses will be delivered in Columbuskwartier. Passive houses combine a pleasant climate in combination with very low energy consumption, which means relative low energy bills for furture owners and less chances of rising energy costs. A clever design, right orientation to the sun and perfect isolation of walls and roof guarantee that little warmth escapes the building.

This means that hardly any energy is needed during the winter months. The energy is obtained by cleverly using the sun and the heat of the occupants and household appliances. The isolation not only keeps the warmth in the house during the winter months, but during the summer it regulates the intake of cold air. Because these houses have a limited demand for heat, the houses will be kept warm with a balanced ventilation system and - if needed - extra heat can be supplemented by the disctrict city heating.

This is the first time in the Netherlands that such houses are realised in a large scale building project as social rented dwellings. The passive houses have been designed by INBO Architects from Rijswijk and are developed by BAM Vastgoed and Ballast Nedam development company under contract of the social housing corporation GoedeStede. Besides the European Commission this project is also supported by AgentschapNL with a subsidy for energy research.

Additional information can be found on our website: or contact the project office in Almere: or


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