Inter-seasonal Co-generation as a carbon-neutral solution for heritage-led regeneration

Greg Keeffe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Rated by Prince Charles as the most intact Victorian mill town in Britain, Nelson UK is dying: pickled in aspic by English Heritage, it is losing population at an alarming rate, and those remaining are ageing and racially entrenched. How can radical change be integrated with heritage interests as strong as these? This paper describes an ambitious attempt to create a 21 st century carbon-neutral future within a very regulated aesthetic. Nelson, as a Victorian boom-town, has no public space, and the housing is mainly terraces without gardens. The brief was to make difference without changing the historic character of the area. The competition-winning scheme for the Whitefield ward by CityLab and Maccreanor-Lavington starts with the insertion of a much-needed public space; this has several functions: It links the town with the canal; provides a pedestrian link to school and creates an edge to the town centre. However, beneath it, lie large water tanks that act as an inter-seasonal store. To regenerate the city as a sustainable entity, it is necessary to reduce dramatically its carbon footprint. The heritage-led constraints limit opportunities to reconfigure anything, so the design-team focussed on the co-generation of heat and power, using bio-diesel produced from waste cooking oil. The main issue with co-generation, is how to equalise the demands between the need for more heat in winter and the constant demand for electricity. The solution, is to use waste heat in summer to heat a large thermal store, which can then be used in winter - thus regulating the demand between seasons, and optimising the efficiency of the plant. With the CHP plant adjacent and the inter-seasonal store beneath and its urban design functions, the public space can be seen as a total sustainable solution to a complex political, social and ecological condition.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPLEA 2008 - Towards Zero Energy Building
Subtitle of host publication25th PLEA International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture, Conference Proceedings
PublisherUniversity College Dublin Press
ISBN (Print)9781905254347
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event25th International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture: Towards Zero Energy Building, PLEA 2008 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 22 Oct 200824 Oct 2008


Conference25th International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture: Towards Zero Energy Building, PLEA 2008


  • Heritage
  • Interseasonal
  • Urban design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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