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Kingfisher Barn Gives Energy Lesson

May 17, 2007 6:00 PM
Mayor Cllr Roger Smith opens the new barn with some helping hands.

Mayor Roger Smith opens the new barn with some helping hands

Today the newest Borough facility the Kingfisher Barn at Itchen Valley Country Park in West End was officially opened by Eastleigh Borough's Mayor, Cllr Roger Smith. He was assisted by pupils from St James' Primary and they were able to discovery just how eco-friendly the new building is.

The Environment Centre's "Professor Switchitov" showed the pupils how :-

  • electricity is generated by the park's wind turbine
  • sheep's wool insulation keeps the classroom cool in summer and warm in the winter,
  • the building is heated by warmth from underground using a ground source heat pump.
After the boring normal opening the kids give it a proper cheer

After the boring normal opening the kids give it a proper cheer

The ground source heat pumps are one of the fastest growing applications of renewable energy in the world, with annual increases of 10% in about 30 countries for the last 10 years. However in the UK only about 1,200 to 1,500 were installed last year, whereas in Scandinavia something like 60,000 heat pumps are been installed annually. The difference in those countries is that the governments their have strongly promoted the use of renewable systems for many years. Sadly here governments for years have paid little more than lip service to promoting renewable energy.

The ground source heat pump will make use of the residual energy from the sun, which remains in the ground, to provide one of the most energy-efficient ways of heating the building. Although electricity is used to power the pump, it will deliver three or four times as much thermal energy (heat) as is used in electrical energy to drive the system. And of course this electrical energy could always come from solar panels or another renewable source to make the whole system 100% renewable.

The new building, constructed from New Forest oak, has been built with the environment in mind. It includes a range of energy and water saving measures and in addition to the special heating and insulation it features a rainwater harvesting system. The Kingfisher Barns provides classroom facilities for use by local schools, provide businesses with a conference venue or even for kids parties on the weekend. It will also provide additional facilities for visitors including new toilets.

Commenting on the new building local councillor David Goodall said :-

"This is a great new facility for people to use and highlights well how we can just use the ground beneath our feet to heat our homes."

And Eastleigh Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Louise Bloom, added:-

"The building proved fascinating for the children who went home full of ideas about how to save energy in their own homes. I hope the new classroom here will inspire more school children to learn about solutions to climate change."

Kingfisher Barn

Kingfisher Barn

The new barn adds to the facilities at Itchen Valley Country Park and is along side the existing High Wood Barn, which acts as a Visitor Centre and Café. High Wood Barn was built in 1990 in the style of a 17th Century Hampshire Aisle Barn and it was constructed using the traditional methods of that period, using timber brought down on the Beaulieu estate during the 1987 storms. The High Wood Barn was also updated along with the build of the Kingfisher Barn with improvements to Woodland Café and increases to the office space for the country side staff.

The main hope of the new Kingfisher Barn is that it will inspire more school children to learn about solutions to climate change through tailored 'Green Energy' days. For more information about the Kingfisher building, contact 023 8047 5082