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Kirklees – United Kingdom

Utilising energy from the sun and the wind


The project described in this Shining Example was part of a European funded project called ‘ZEN’ (Zero Emissions Neighbourhoods), with partners in the UK (Kirklees, Sutton and Southwark), Italy and Greece. Through this project, Kirklees Council installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar thermal systems and two 6kW wind turbines onto the roof of Civic Centre 3, a Council office building in Huddersfield town centre.

Civic Centre 3 is in a busy area of Huddersfield town centre and is nearby a ring road, a shopping area and public buildings. Each week more than 1,350 people visit the building, including planning and architectural professionals, council officials and the general public. This project is intended to be a clear corporate statement by Kirklees Council showing how it is taking action to address climate change. Providing all the electrical power needs for Civic Centre 3 creates 188 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – the renewable energy installations will save nearly 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

Building details

Type of building : Civic Centre 3 is a three storey administrative municipal office building
Year of construction/ Floor area/ Operating hours : Constructed in 1976, three storey building with a floor area of 5,433m2, in use for approximately 249 hours per month
Heating and cooling / measures installed The Centre’s main fuel sources are gas which is utilised for space heating and electricity for lighting, IT equipment and heating and ventilation plant.
Energy label/CO2 emissions A Display® Poster has been produced for this building and is displayed next to information on the renewable energy systems.

_ For 2004/05 the Display® ratings for the building were :

Energy use : E

CO2 emissions : D

Water use : D

_ However, the potential performance of the building, taking into account the renewable energy systems, was predicted as :

Energy use : D

CO2 emissions : D

Water use : B

_ The performance of the renewable energy systems used in the building is being monitored via a digital display that is located in the foyer of the building.

Project Description

Aim The project aimed to :

  • Raise awareness of climate change and renewable energy technology within the Kirklees community and beyond.
  • Supply the building with power from renewable energy sources, which will contribute to reaching a target of meeting 20% of the Kirklees district’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.
  • Increase capacity in the Council and the Kirklees district to deliver large scale renewable energy initiatives and show the Council’s leadership role with regard to installing renewable energy.
  • Make a significant reduction in climate change emissions (nearly 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year).
  • Reduce the consumption of electricity from the grid and promote more efficient use of energy in the building. The solar and wind installations will provide around 10.7% of electricity needs and 50-60% of the building’s hot water needs (the annual energy demand of the Civic Centre 3 building based on the 2003/04 annual energy report is 437,505 kWh of electricity, 664,777 kWh of gas and 3250 m3 of water).
  • Inform the delivery of a new corporate renewable energy policy which :

    - Aims to install 30% renewable generation on all new buildings and large-scale extensions procured by the Council, by 2010/11.

    - Demonstrates the configuration and range of renewable energy technologies which can be employed in one building.
Key points Renewable energy installed


48m2 of a solar thermal system was installed in February 2005.


17.6kWp of Solar PV was installed, also in February 2005.


Two 6kW wind turbines were installed in May 2006.

_ Several energy efficiency measures have also been installed, including automatic lighting controls in offices, kitchen areas and meeting rooms. These measures were funded through the Council’s Council-Wide Initiatives (CWI) (Energy & Water Conservation) Fund.

_ Consultation and raising awareness

In addition to consultation undertaken for the planning process, a comprehensive community consultation and awareness raising programme was undertaken which included :

_ Building Users : Presentations about the project were given to the Civic 3 Building Users Group and their feedback was obtained on issues and concerns. A drop-in information day was then held for all building users at which information was made available about the project on posters, information leaflets and by face to face discussion.

_ Local Residents and Community Groups : The surrounding communities were informed about the project through a letter drop and posters in shops and local buildings.

_ Wider Kirklees community : The building receives many visitors from a diverse range of backgrounds every day. The wind turbines are in a visible location, thus inspiring discussions around climate change and renewable energy across a wide cross-section of the community. The display in the reception area of the building and external displays will continue to raise awareness in the wider community into the future.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example This Shining Example showcases the use of several renewable energy systems – wind turbines, solar thermal systems and solar PV. It also exemplifies how such projects can be used to raise awareness and knowledge of climate change and renewable energy technologies amongst both those involved in the project and the wider community.


Costs &


The total cost of the project was €351,000 (£239,000) : €144,000 (£98,000) for the solar PV, €59,000 (£40,000) for the solar thermal system and €148,000 (£101,000) for the wind turbines.

_ More than €118,000 (£80,000) was funded by the European Commission through the ZEN programme and the UK Government through the then ClearSkies programme. The remainder was funded by the Kirklees Metropolitan Council Renewable Energy Fund.

_ The ZEN project aims to develop and promote the idea of ‘zero emission neighbourhoods’, which are neighbourhoods with zero or negligible climate change gas emissions. In such neighbourhoods, reductions in climate change gas emissions can be achieved through the introduction of sustainable energy measures, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. The ClearSkies Programme (now superseded by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme) aimed to give householders and communities a chance to realise the benefits of renewable energy by providing grants and access to sources of advice.
Benefits The benefits of this project are manifold :

_ Environmental : the project will save more than nearly 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. It has led to strengthened policies regarding renewable energy both in corporate policy and the Local Development Framework (the Local Development Framework is a folder of local development documents that outline how spatial planning will be managed in the local area).

_ Sharing experience : the project has provided many opportunities for Kirklees to develop and refine their understanding of project management issues relating to renewable energy capital projects. This ranges from providing staff training on renewable energy to sharing the lessons learned with colleagues through regional and national networks.

_ Financial : More than €118,000 (£80,000) in external funds have been brought into the Kirklees community and local jobs have been created.


Partnership details This initiative was led by Kirklees Council’s Environment Unit, who obtained funding for the project and ensured overall project delivery.

_ The technical project management, including supervision of the installations, was undertaken by Kirklees Council’s Design & Property Services.


  • The wind turbines are the first to be installed on a local authority building in the UK.
  • This project has inspired a new corporate policy of 30% of energy for Council’s new buildings to be generated from on-site renewable energy systems by 2010/11.
  • The project has benefited from strong Councillor [local political leadership] support, which has assisted greatly in obtaining funding and Council approval.
  • Local jobs have been created and local skills increased. These include training local wind turbine installers and increasing skills within the Council.
  • More than €118,000 (£80,000) in external funds have been brought into the Kirklees budget.
  • The project has attracted national attention as a result of a visit from Elliot Morley (former Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) as part of a tour of best practice sustainable development initiatives in West Yorkshire.
  • This project has built capacity in the Council in project management in other areas of the Council (such as Education and Housing) likely to implement renewables projects in future. This has been achieved through involving staff in meetings, training sessions, site visits and discussions so that the ‘know-how’ for renewables project management is spread across the Council.

_ The systems’ performance is being monitored via a digital display read-out located in the building’s foyer.

Lessons Learned
  • The current situation regarding the sale of surplus electricity and obtaining Renewable Obligation Certificates (UK) for the electricity generated is complicated. Kirklees is working at national level towards a simplified approach to enable all microgenerators to obtain money for the renewable electricity generated.
  • The project communication plan, which addressed risks and building user concerns, was helpful in generating positive perceptions about wind turbines.
  • It is important to ensure that all parties are committed to grant timeframe deadlines. This is particularly important when managing multiple funds.
  • Maintenance - it is helpful for the installers to train relevant Council staff (such as caretakers) on how to undertake operation checks and maintenance whilst on site for the installation.
  • Rateable value - the installation of renewable energy systems, such as wind turbines, can lead to an increase in the rateable value of a building. This means that the level of rates paid by the owner for the building could increase because of renewable energy installations. The level of increase is set at 5% of the value of the installation, thus wiping out potential financial benefits of an installation and presenting a significant barrier to the development of small scale renewable energy generation in the UK. This issue has been highlighted by Kirklees Council and at present there are a number of national organisations, for example, the Renewable Energy Association and the Micropower Council, lobbying Government on this issue.

To know more



Kirklees Metropolitan Council Environment Unit
Contact Vicky Dumbrell
Phone +44 (0)1484 223 568

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