It was about time for UK’s least energy efficient home
On November 18th, plans for a potential refurbishment of Buckingham Palace went public, as –according to surveyors- there are fears of a 'catastrophic building failure'. The large townhouse was built in 1703 and the 10-year long refit (2017-2027) will prolong its working life by a further fifty years. Not everyone is thrilled with its prospect, however, as the facelift is estimated to cost £369 million ($459 million) and will be funded by taxpayers’ money. A petition has been created, aiming to collect 200,000 signatures, to make the Royal Family start funding its own renovations.
Buckingham Palace goes greener
In 2009, a group of energy surveyors deemed Buckingham Palace to be the UK’s least energy efficient home. That is why, in the report published by the Royal Trustees, the building’s energy efficiency has also been taken into account. Having considered the consultants’ proposals, the Royal Household has selected solar PV panels and an aerobic digestion unit in its Reservicing Programme in order to reduce the building’s carbon footprint and its electricity costs. The solar panels could be fitted to the roof of the Palace so that they are not visible from the ground or principal rooms of the palace itself. Initially, they will provide just less than 5% of the building’s energy demands, but this could increase to 10% over time as power consumption is reduced and as the carbon content in grid electricity is lowered, in accordance with Government legislation. This option will be a viable, credible and potentially valuable addition to the Palace, particularly in terms of protecting the environment, the report states. Solar thermal panels, ground source heat pumps, electrical heating and fuel cells were also identified as possible power supplies in the future, and the Royal Trustees will considered them ‘as technology develops’.
Mock up image of how solar electric panels could be installed at Buckingham Palace