Passivhaus Premium Project Gains Certification

The Sheds took a step closer to becoming the UK’s first residential Passivhaus Premium when the solar panels on its roof were certified by Flexi-Orb earlier this week.

The solar panels, which cover almost the entire roof and are virtually invisible, have generated a stunning 10MWh of electricity in their first three months of operation.

Ofgem estimate that a typical four bedroom house uses 4.3MWh per year so The Sheds is certainly on track to exceed the Passivhaus Premium requirement to generate four times its primary energy useage. The Flexi-Orb certification clears the way for the excess energy the house generates to be exported to the National Grid and start contributing to a carbon-free future.

Subadra are both Project Manager and Certified Passivhaus Designers for The Sheds. If you’d like to discuss your green energy requirements or Passivhaus project with us then please contact Duncan Eastland. The Sheds will also be featured on Channel Four later this year.

Core Activity?

OK, this is unashamedly just a pretty picture of a multi-coloured rock core we recovered from a site recently.

We could tell you about the technical difficulties of recovering intact rock cores from interbedded soft and hard rock strata like these. But we’d rather you just enjoy the photo for what it is. Cor, what a beauty as a well known daily newspaper might have said.

For more information regarding our drilling capabilities please contact Angus Gale.

When Skimming is a Good Thing

OK, so when someone says they’ve been skimming, it’s not usually a good thing. However, when it’s skimming fuel from a monitoring well on petrol station, that’s definitely beneficial.

We identified the fuel during a site audit, carried out in response to complaints about petrol odours in off-site (BT and Thames Water) service ducts. Contaminants often track/migrate through ducting and service trenches, leading away from the original source. In this case, our detective work was able to trace the source of the odours back to a fuel leak from the nearby filling station.

Our UKAS accreditted laboratory carried out forensic analysis of the recovered fuel in order to determine it’s age and composition, allowing us to further focus future infrastructure and ground investigation efforts on possible sources of the leak from the filling station.

Being able to seemlessly integrate both site investigation and laboratory testing in this way resulted in significant time and cost savings for our client.

If you’d like to know more about our unique approach to assesment of contaminated land, please contact James Edley.

Check Before You Buy

We recently completed a desk-top study for a site with no indication of it’s former use. A thorough, detailed data review uncovered the site’s past use as a petrol filling station. Our subsequent investigations uncovered several abandoned tanks and lots of nasty contamination.

Our report was compiled on behalf of a client looking to lease the site. As a result of our work, they were able to negotiate an indemnity against historical contamination and a contribution to the costs of dealing with future development costs associated with removing the soil contamination. A bullet dodged for our client.

Stacking the Deck

Construction of ‘The Sheds’, the UK’s first residential Passivhaus Premium now has less than a year to run and focus has turned to the internal fit out. In keeping with the project’s eco credentials, the majority of the built-in furniture is being constructed using Richlite, a recycled paper product. This incredibly versatile material is made from 100% recycled products using WE Technology, a waste to energy process. Some day all furniture will be made like this.

Subadra are Project Manager, Principal Contractor, Certified Passivhaus Designer and Energy Consultants for the project. If you’d like to know more about Passivhaus and our green energy consultancy services, please contact Duncan Eastland.

Science Fiction or Reality?

We just loved this photograph. At first glance it looks like the worms from Dune. But actually its the business end of one of our core barrels full of different kinds of rock: chert, flint, river terrace deposits. A nightmare to drill through, but as you can see it’s all in a day’s work for our drill crew.

If you have a drilling requirement at your site and would like to discuss it with us, then please contact Angus Gale.

Site Unseen?

Sometimes it’s easy to spot where contamination is on a site but all too often it lurks hidden beneath the surface. Fortunately we have a wide array of tools for finding the contamination without blowing the budget or digging up the whole site.

We’ve been working at a development site recently where the client knew there might be abandoned underground storage tanks present, but had no idea where they might be. Using ground probing radar (GPR) we were able to accurately locate the tanks. We then drilled boreholes around the tanks and analysed soil samples in our in house UKAS accredited laboratory, to confirm that the tanks had not contaminated the surrounding ground. This integrated approach, using GPR to focus the subsequent intrusive investigation resulted in a considerable cost saving for our client as well as minimising disruption to the site. If you’d like to discuss your site investigation requirements with us please contact James Edley or Steven Partridge.

A ‘Hole’ Lot of Problems

You never quite know what is lurking beneath the surface. We recently removed this underground fuel storage tank from a disused filling station site. When we inspected the tank we found this large corrosion hole which could have been a major source of contamination. A persuasive argument for replacing legacy single skin tanks with modern double skin tanks!

Do I Need to Check for Contamination?

This is probably the most common question we get asked by clients when they are buying a site. The simple answer is almost always yes. Just last week we were asked this exact question. Our client was considering buying a brownfield site for redevelopment and had been given a two year old report prepared by others which gave the site a clean bill of health. Fortunately, they took our advice and had us visit the site to take a look. The photograph shows what we found when we sampled one of the groundwater monitoring wells: ~170mm of free-phase hydrocarbons floating on the water surface. Far from the site being ‘clean’, it had major contamination issues.

Eyesore No More

Tank Removal

We’ve recently been working on the prestigious Moor Park Estate, decommissioning a disused filling station in readiness for the site’s redevelopment with housing. The filling station closed over twenty years ago and all that was left were a few dilapidated lock up garages and rat infested undergrowth. In the past few weeks we have safely decommissioned and removed eight underground fuel storage tanks together with associated fuel pipework. Our in house laboratory has also tested soil samples from around the excavations and across the site, allowing us to confirm that we have successfully removed any contaminated soil associated with the site’s former use. In the next week we will be handing the site back to the client for the next stage in its development.