Oriel y Parc has been designed to use our basic natural resources of the sun, rain and native vegetation to cut down on our use of power and processed water.
To reduce our consumption of mains water and help to reduce the pressure on water resources, we have installed a huge 18,000 litre storage tank beneath the front courtyard. When it rains, the rainwater from the roof is funnelled into the tank and used to flush the toilets.
This also prevents run-off water from the building overloading the local drains and causing flash flooding.
The orientation of the building, together with its huge thermal massing, ensures that we make the most of the heat generated by the sun. The curve of the building is aligned so that the sun tracks around and warms the top of the massive spine wall from sunrise to sunset which gently releases this heat throughout the day
The South side of the building is high and sunny whereas the North side is low, with overhanging eaves which create a cooler, shadowed area and provides a sheltered home for nesting swallows and house martins. By using louvered vents and natural ventilation air is able to flow through the building whenever it is required.
The use of natural light, low energy light bulbs and motion sensor switches ensure that energy consumption is reduced.
Insulation, Insulation, Insulation!
Not a glamourous feature, but the most important in keeping down the energy use (and the bills!).
Wool is a natural fibre derived from a renewable resource and is much more energy efficient to manufacture as insulation than synthetic materials. Massive amounts of insulation have been built into the foundations and walls at Oriel y Parc to conserve energy.
Wool also helps to regulate the moisture levels in the building, helping to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This warmth may not be noticeable, but it prevents condensation in the building cavities and in warm conditions, releases moisture which causes a cooling effect.
Grass and Sedum Roof
Most roofs are dark and absorb heat which causes uneven heat distribution. Green roofs cut down on the absorption of heat and instead, provide effective insulation from both the cold in the winter and the heat of the sun in the summer.
Rainwater percolates slowly through the soil, so preventing run-off water from the building overloading the local drains and causing flash flooding.