Crown Spa Hotel refused planning permission for wind turbines

Today (12th January 2012) the Crown Spa Hotel’s dream of installing 16 wind turbines on the roof of a Grade II listed building, was refused at a Planning and Development Committee Meeting held at Westborough Methodist Church, Westborough, Scarborough, even though 24 individuals publically supported the application, while only 10 individuals were against it.

David Frank Director said “Though we disagree with the judgement, we will accept and respect the planning officers’ and the democratically elected Councillors’ independent opinion. This is merely a setback in our quest to have greater energy efficiency, thereby reducing energy costs and our impact on the environment. Overall we have learnt a lot from this particular planning application process. The contemporary and elegant blade design of these Pramac wind turbines will add to the building in fusing the past with the future, whilst helping to bring awareness to some of the energy supply issues our children will have to deal with.”

Mr Frank added “We are simply back to the drawing board for a solution, which is more acceptable to the Scarborough Civic Society, English Heritage and the planning and Development Committee”

Modern sub 10KW Wind Turbines are different to the large turbines

One issue the Crown Spa management team felt they came up against was a lack of awareness of existing wind turbine technology, particularly turbines below 10KW.

During the planning process a number of issues were raised from individuals and English Heritage, which has made a number of assertions as to vibration, weight and noise without undertaking any research of modern gearless turbines.

  • Vibration in a wind turbine can damage the wine turbine itself; modern turbines have vibration sensors with safety cut outs if vibration levels exceed a very small threshold i.e. they turn themselves off if they get wobbly. Modern gearless turbines have virtually no vibration as there is virtually no contact between the moving parts.
  • Weight the hotel recently built 24 rooms on the roof of the building using a steal structure. The weight of these turbines are 65kg for the turbine and 35kg for all fittings each, total extra weight is around 1600kg, equivalent to a Ford Focus with 3 passengers, the hotels advisors have informed them that this is well within the design parameters of the construction allowing for the additional wind pressure.
  • Noise for the Pramac Turbines that were going to be used is 52dB at 4 metres; 52dB is equivalent to a Quiet suburb or a conversation at home add to this on surrounding noise levels (wind, cars waves etc..) these units will be hardly noticeable for neighbours or from the ground. Sound intensity follows the inverse-square law, for example in the 50dB is 1/4 as loud as 70db (an Office environment) at 4 metres and for each doubling of distance from a sound source dB is reduced by roughly 6db. In fact the latest model of wind turbine the management team have seen has a sound rating of 38db at 4metres (equivalent to a quiet library).
  • English heritage said that the Crown Spa have already met the EU target requirements; in response David Frank Responded “the problem is most scientists and economists in the field think the targets are far too low, and greater measures need to be taken. what we need to appreciate is that these European rules predominantly pushed through by Germany and France are nations which were already better prepared when the targets were set. Germany with 40% renewable energy production and France (where you are no further than 55 miles from a Nuclear power station), will be sitting pretty when oil prices rise. Unfortunately, we as a nation are not as prepared as we should be, for a developed nation.
  • English Heritage in their objection mentioned lack of public benefit to which the Crown Spa team strongly feel that apart from bring greater public awareness of the benefits of wind energy; they felt the need to point out that the earth is a finite size with finite resources, oil will not be plentiful or cheap in the next 10 years, and therefore businesses must plan now, while energy costs are relatively cheap. – If this is not in the public interest what is?

Mr Frank added “Basically, I strongly feel that if we as a nation can reduce our reliance on oil, then that will mean less chance of your daughter; your son, being sent off to a distance country to die, or be maimed and mentally scarred, just so our nation can have a stable oil supply. We as a nation were in Iraq for oil! Not principles. We are in Afghanistan in order to stabilise the countries surrounding it, in order to stabilise oil flow – History has generally shown that nations go to war for resources, not principles.”

“Further, overall renewables and nuclear (thorium, and slow burn) though expensive in the short term will be far cheaper in the long run, by reducing our reliance on oil now, then when oil does become more expensive , we will be far more competitive than other nations who have not prepared properly.”

Is the future in the wind?

You tube vidoe here


Wind of change? (Scarborough Evening News)

A SCARBOROUGH hotel has unveiled plans to install 16 wind turbines on its roof.

The four-star Crown Spa Hotel in Esplanade says the “elegant and pleasing to the eye” units would help it reduce its running costs, while decreasing its energy consumption and CO2 output.

The hotel has previously won awards for its green initiatives, claiming a National Award for Excellence in sustainability in 2010 and an 87 per cent Gold rating at the Green Tourism Business Awards this year.

Administration director David Frank said: “During the last six years The Crown Spa Hotel Green Team has continually reappraised each area of our environment policy. Our main strategy is to investigate and implement new technology or practices to reduce CO2 produced directly and indirectly from fossil fuels and to agree as a management team ongoing best practice.

“The ever increasing cost of fuel for heat and power is a major risk to our business. If we as a business are to continue to prosper and compete as a leading independent leisure business in the region, we must attempt to ‘hedge our exposure’ to this risk.

“A requirement for further power generation can only be met by wind power as there is not enough space within the confines of the property for solar PV.”

Mr Frank added: “The total scheme will produce around 35,200 KWh per year, roughly around five per cent of our electrical consumption – equivalent to the electrical energy used by 7.5 average UK houses or 18 tonnes of CO2.

“This will result in the company reducing total running costs of the business by roughly £17,500 per annum and a payback period of 2.5 years and a reduced reliance on the volatile energy market.

Read more at Scarborough Evening News

Crown Spa Hotel Scarborough wind turbine proposal

A proposed mock-up of the Crown Spa Hotel Scarborough

During the last 6 years The Crown Spa Hotel in Scarborough Green Team has continually reappraised each area of our environment policy. Our main strategy is to investigate and implement new technology or practices to reduce CO2 produced directly and indirectly from fossil fuels and to agree as a management team on-going best practice. We have earned many awards such as a National Award for Excellence in sustainability (in 2010) and a rating of 87% Gold rating for the Green Tourism Business Awards (2011).

The main focus for this current period is reducing consumption and improving efficiency in our Energy and Waste Management processes – especially during these difficult economic times.

The ever increasing cost of fuel for heat and power is a major risk to our business. If we as a business are to continue to prosper and compete as a leading independent leisure business in the region, we must attempt to “hedge our exposure” to this risk.

We have always had 2 main strategic aims since 2006

•             Our main environmental vision is to reduce KG’s CO2 output from fossil derived energy used in Water, Light, Heat and Power by 25% by 2010 from our 2005 – through staff training, energy efficient SMD bulbs, insulation and investment in energy saving technology and indeed producing some energy from biomass and solar hot water heating; this has now been achieved.

•             The further aim is a 50% reduction from our 2005 levels by 2015 – this can only be achieved by investment in further power generation schemes and more technology to help manage energy consumption.

A requirement for further power generation can only be met by wind power as there is not enough space within the confines of the property for solar PV.

Each wind turbine should produce 2,200 KWh of energy based on average wind speeds in the area. The total scheme will produce around 35,200 KWh per year, roughly around 5% of our electrical consumption – Equivalent to the electrical energy used by 7.5 average UK houses or 18 Tonnes of CO2.

This will result in the company reducing total running costs of the business by roughly £17,500 per annum and a payback period of 2.5 years and a reduced reliance on the volatile energy markets.

The choice of design of wind power units, have been ones which will both look elegant and pleasing to the eye, with minimum noise.

Please support our application by downloading a support letter here and sending it to

Regeneration & Planning, Town Hall, St. Nicholas Street,
Scarborough, YO11 2HG.


Electricity conservation and the energy crisis

Much of the focus on the energy crisis in the UK has been upon the cars we drive, and with good reason. Cars burn fossil fuels, creating smog consisting of greenhouse gasses, which then traps the heat of the sun and warms the environment. This causes global warming, which is a very real threat to our continued well-being as a species.

 But you shouldn’t just focus on your car. Energy conservation at home can help play a part in the energy crisis, and electricity conservation can also put a few pounds in your pocket at the end of every month.

 I always remember learning this basic fact that, for each degree you lower your heat during the winter, your heating bill will be roughly 3% less. An added bonus of running cooler in winter is that you don’t feel the cold as much and you burn up to 100 more calories a day, without any effort.

 This applies in the summer as well, with the preponderance of air conditioners from DIY outlets going full blast morning, noon and night. When it comes to electricity conservation, it’s a year-round concern.

Why? Well,the risk of global warming is a real threat that could have devastating consequences.

 The following is from’s entry on the subject:

 Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation. Global surface temperature increased during the last century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from human activity such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation caused most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century. The IPCC also concludes that variations in natural phenomena such as solar radiation and volcanoes produced most of the warming from pre-industrial times to 1950 and had a small cooling effect afterward. These basic conclusions have been endorsed by more than 40 scientific societies and academies of science,[B] including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. A small number of scientists dispute the consensus view.

 Climate model projections summarized in the latest IPCC report indicate that the global surface temperature will probably rise further during the twenty-first century. The uncertainty in this estimate arises from the use of models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations and the use of differing estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions. Some other uncertainties include how warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe. Most studies focus on the period up to the year 2100. However, warming is expected to continue beyond 2100 even if emissions stop, because of the large heat capacity of the oceans and the long lifetime of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

 An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably including expansion of subtropical deserts. The continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice is expected, with warming being strongest in the Arctic. Other likely effects include increases in the intensity of extreme weather events, species extinctions, and changes in agricultural yields.

 But even if you drive is not to combat global warming, being energy efficient means you can have more money for those “rainy days” that can catch us out once in a while.

Do the Solar pannels work?

Atended the SHA anual ball at the weekend at the Spa, and I got asked the above question. My answer was yes, payback still looks like roughly 8 years. The pannels are providing a great deal of warm water at this time of year (though it has been cloudy lately) but no matter how many pannels you do have the temperature will not get much above 35 oc. Though this does save a lot of energy that would have been used to heat the water from 8oc (ground water temp at the moment) to 28oc (with a heat exchanger due to the specific heat capacity of water, you will normall only get the water to 8oc below the solar temperature).

I am still happy to say 6m3 of water at around 65oc from March to October on every bright day, plus with the pool heat exchanger the lower temperature of 35oc at this time of year is exchanged into the pool as the pool only needs to be around 30oc, very little heat is lost. This has worked so well that we have now taken out the now redundant second boiler to heat the pool water.

Crane Lowers Solar Panel Structure

95% of the scaffolding to the front of the hotel has now been removed. A small amount remains to enable painting of the annex section this week, after which it will be removed. The crane in the picture is lowering the solar panel uni-fix structure to the roof in order for the solar panels to be secured and capable of withstanding high winds. The crane will return next week to install the second set of frames. Calculations from 3 physical working test 30 tube panels indicate we should be able to heat 6600 litres of water to 65 oc in the month of August at that hight and angle.

5th June 2009

Solar Panels Calculations

At last I have found some reasonably priced solar panels; basically I have been researching suppliers for 30 tube (vacuum tube) 58MM diameter and around 1800mm long solar panels. Prices have ranged from extremely efficient (95%) 30 tube panel sets from around £2K per panel; to 80% efficient 30 tube panels for £400 and less (to BS standard BS EN12975-2 ). So very much a no brainer with regard to which panel to choose by the time you have factored in the cost of additional damage prevention systems for the cheaper panels there is still a considerable cost saving.

Solar Panels at the Crown the costs and the benefits

We have 60m of available width space to fit solar panels to the roof, this means we can reasonably fit 27 panels maximum to the roof, though it will be around 25 due to gaps between panels

The total costs of these panels at 30 vacuum tubes each will be around £400 each (est. present costs are £433 before discounts) panel, I have allowed for £100 of fittings and tubing per panel in the costing
and an equal amount of labour.
The panels come with a fixing kit for mounting on a flat roof do have a look at for some suppliers, panels can be supplied with the flat roof stand or pitched roof mounts.
The above suppliers are the most competitive suppliers I have found from 50 suppliers and I have narrowed down prospective quotes for 30 tube solar vacuum panels to go to 6 suppliers.


  • local solar values have been used,
  • 80% efficiency of the vacuum solar tubes (flat panels are roughly 75% efficient), (there are two types of solar panel flat and tubular)
  • tilt angle is latitude + and – 15 degrees, though more probable that only the positive tilt will be used from 54 degree angle (so 39 to 70 degree tilt at 54 latitude)
  • direction of facing panels is SE and SW (SW is slightly more optimal for winter performance)
  • days sunshine data and KW hr’s per M2 (from last 60 years at High Mowpeth),
  • total heat store of 2.5K litres with 90 KW coils per cylinder (4 cylinders in total),
  • a suspected doubling of gas costs in the next 3 years from 3.5 per KW hr (inc.ccl) to 7.5p per KW Hr,
  • sunk (past) costs up to today’s date are ignored, (these total £11k at today’s PV values after tax)
  • maintenance costs of £200 per year after year 4 (I presume we will have to replace faulty tubes etc..)
  • cost of capital of 10%
  • max number of 30 tube panels fitted is 25 (though might be able to get 27)
  • each 30 tube panel is roughly 2M long (hypotenuse), 1.6M max vertical height and 2.5M wide and 100KG full weight (if an un-mounted solution is used then the height will vary between 1.6M and 1.2M.

Break Even

The total cost of the 25 30 tube panels should be £12,500 (was 75K 4 years ago!)

The total cost of fitting the tubes with extra pipes and kit (inc. using the pool as a thermal dump) £5,000
I was intending helping Paul (our heating engineer) do the work on the roof as a change is as good as a holiday.

Break even for the project is in 4 years
Break Even Of Project

If I include past costs this is extended to 7.5 years.

How much hot water can we produce?

% Excess Heat

From early April to mid August excess heat will be produced, the excess quantity produced is to a degree
difficult to calculate as some excess may be “put back” into the hotel hot water system and not be an excess
i.e. if a period of “heavy draw” is experienced.
However the main thing to realise is that all the excess heat will be recovered and dumped into the pool;
after putting these numbers through some more number crunching taking into account
the day time air temperatures, temperature of the solar fluid reaching the pool heat exchanger etc…
roughly a percentage % of the pool heating bill will be supplied from excess heat from the solar panels as follows:

  • For May 25% of pool heating will be solar,
  • For June 50%,
  • For July 30%,
  • For August 15%,

KWH excess heat Produced

The beauty of using the pool as a heat store is that if there is very little hot water draw on any given day the excess heat will
Be dumped automatically into the pool. This is very possible in March, April and September and October months.

I have a table below based on local historic data for sunlight and kwh’s per M2 sunlight for the Scarborough latitude

Jan Feb Mar Apl May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Days in month 31 28 31 30 31 30 31 31 30 31 30 31
Kw hr Per M2 Per Day average 0.64 1.17 1.94 3.32 4.17 5.00 4.44 3.61 2.78 1.67 0.78 0.47
Average Sunlight per Day in Scarborough area last 60 year average 1.6 2.4 3.2 4.5 6.0 5.8 5.8 5.6 4.4 3.3 2.1 1.3

The direction of a facing panel also alters the efficiency in northern latitudes basically south is not always the most optimal in the real worlds data though somewhere between SE and SW should be fine.

Tilt can also alter efficiency this is generally the degree of latitude you are at (54 degrees at Scarborough) though in summer a panel will give generally more than enough heat so maximising the winter sun is often preferred in northern latitudes (as seen in table above). To maximise summer heat have a tilt at your latitude +15 and to maximise in winter (and reduce the chance of your panel blowing away) tilt at latitude -15. So basically adjust your tilt twice a year if you can, tilt up in Spring and down in winter.

Basically you can now work out the theoretical average energy per month from a solar panel (very easy with a spreadsheet)

Flat panels work to roughly 75% but can often be a lot less at northern climes (even if you tilt adjust), a vacuum tube works at around 80% efficiency if correctly facing roughly SE to SW and tilt adjusted.

If you know your absorption area (e.g… 2.4m2)

You can now calculate the energy produced per panel so a 2.4m2 panel in vacuum tube (80 % efficient) format will produce a maximum of about 9.6KWh’s per day in June (5.0*2.4*0.8), about enough to heat all the hot water for a 3 bed house plus some extra. However do look at the winter period where this is reduced to around 1KWh per day. Therefore, you have to choose between paying for extra panels or to rely on other mean of heating hot water during the winter period; but do remember these are MAX values! So in real life result will vary from site to site.

Planning Permission for Solar Panels Given

Today we were given planning permission and listed building consent for two atrium-type runs of solar panels and four glazed roof lights.
The new features will be on a mansard roof which is in the process of being built these panels form part of our ongoing initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency. David Frank, administration director at the hotel, addressed the council’s planning and development committee about the proposals and referred to the Government’s CO2 reduction target for the country of 20 per cent by 2010.
Basically I had to speak before the council planning committee at this meeting I informed them that : “At the Crown Spa Hotel, we have managed to reduce our CO2 output by seven per cent since 2005, around six households worth, through team training and replacement of less efficient items.
“By granting this application it will achieve a reduction of CO2 output equivalent to nine to 10 households, put the hotel within three per cent of achieving the tough 2010 Government target and send a clear message to the businesses and households of the borough that the 20 per cent reduction is possible in old buildings.”A Sample Solar Panel
Finally I added: “I have children and I want to be able to say to them with hand on heart that with regard to climate change and my influence on any future impact that I have done the right thing and all I can that is practicable.”
Scarborough and District Civic Society in keeping with their stance on such projects of modernity objected to the plans because the roof lights are “out of keeping with a grade II listed building of this quality” and the solar panels “add even greater clutter to the roof”.
At the meeting, Richard Flowitt, vice-chairman of the society, said: “Quality buildings such as these are special and need extra special care and protection. They are our inheritance from past generations who have brought great design quality and architectural wealth to the town and left behind buildings of style for us to enjoy forever.”
Cllr Dilys Cluer said: “I agree with the civic society that they are the inheritance of past generations but if we don’t do something about climate change we won’t have a forever to enjoy them.”
In a report, Jill Low, planning manager for the council, said: “It has been established that there will be views of the roof from elsewhere in the town and the conservation area, but that due to the distance of these views, the proposed development would not result in any detriment to the appearance of the historic building or conservation area.”

So now I am on the hunt for solar panels!

Wood Burning Boilers Arrive

Today we received 2 large ROJEK wood burning boilers at 49.5 KW weighing 500 kg each. We have bought these to assist in heating and hot water for the hotel at 100kw’s they are rather powerful as they give this output all the time as long as they are kept fed Rojek Boilerwith wood every 5 hours. Unlike a gas boilers you can not turn them off so they basically operate at a lesser degree of flexibility so you need some large vessels to store all the hot water produced. Fortunately we have just the thing in the accumulator tanks. The aim is to use this heat to supply the hotel and test the theory and principle of attempting to run a hotel this size with some green energy. Incidentally we got the boilers from the delivery and service have been very good.

UPDATED April 2009; We have not as yet fitted these boilers we are somewhat behind a little; such is life. We are having trouble finding a place that is not too far away where we can fit the 5000l accumulator; these things are very big!

New 18Kw Wood Burning Boiler Fitted

Today fitted the new wood burning stove for the hotel foyer, it is 18Kw’s in power and looks very nice indeed, now we can dispose of the un-reclaimableWood Burning Stove wood from the refurbishment works and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

UPDATED January 2009; one problem with this burner is that the rooms above are now too hot! Can you believe it! Yes, the radiators now have to be turned off in the rooms above.