Brighton i360 unanimously was granted planning permission on 16 September 2016 by Brighton & Hove City Council to remove a wind turbine at the top of the tower from its design, after engineers raised concerns that the turbine might cause the tower to move in high winds.
The decision was welcomed by John Roberts, the i360’s chief engineer, who explained: “In the very early designs of the tower, we had proposed including a wind turbine at the top, however detailed studies by our damping specialist showed that the wind turbine (with a mounting on the roof of the tower) would have stopped the tower damping system from working properly and the turbine itself would have been susceptible to damage.
“An important aspect of the tower design has been to ensure that it can withstand very high winds in the worst possible storms. To deal with these conditions there are damping systems mounted internally within the tower and the exterior of the tower is clad with perforated aluminium cladding, which disrupts the flow of the wind.
“The wind turbine was expected to generate around 20% of the energy for the vertical cable car’s ascent, but by capturing energy on the vertical cable car descent, we will recover approximately 50% of the energy for the ascent, so we will be saving more energy than originally envisaged.”
He continued: “We had originally hoped to harvest the rainwater but as the roof of our single storey beach building is also the boarding platform for the i360, unfortunately the water will be too dirty to be usable, even in the toilet system. Therefore, the rainwater harvesting has had to come out of the design.”
Eleanor Harris, chief executive of the i360, added: “We are committed to making the i360 as sustainable as possible, and so I am pleased that we’ve found a way to save 50% of the energy from the vertical cable car, and we have incorporated a number of exciting sustainable measures into the i360.
“Electricity will be the only energy source used at the Brighton i360 site and it will come entirely from renewable energy sources. We will be signing up to a ‘green energy’ tariff, which guarantees that the energy we use has been produced, for example, at wind farms or hydroelectric plants.
“We also have incorporated sustainable design into the beach building to minimise energy consumption. For example, we are using natural ventilation for cooling and have insulated the building. We will use low energy LED lighting throughout the attraction and A+ rated appliances.
“During our construction we have sent as little material as possible to land fill. For example, the crane mat is being constructed from shingle excavated from our basement. 50% of the cement in our concrete foundations was recycled material (Ground Granulated Blast furnace Slag). Our red Hitachi Sumitomo crane ‘cleans’ the air – so much so that studies have shown that in large cities the air emitted from the exhaust is cleaner than the air it sucks in!
“Sustainability is also about how we work. It is our vision that our restaurants will serve fresh, locally-sourced food that has been caught, reared and grown in Sussex. We also will be installing a food composter for our food waste that turns waste into water. In our shop, we will use recyclable material where possible. We will have recycling waste bins throughout our site for use by our customers and our staff. Our team are encouraged to cycle, walk or take public transport to work. We have no company cars or parking permits and we will provide dedicated cycle storage, showers and changing facilities.
“We will become a member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and promote environmental awareness and sustainability – training staff to reduce waste and conserve energy and resources. We will also be applying for ISO 20121 standard to manage sustainable events at the i360.”
Frequently asked questions
Why didn’t you realise the turbine wouldn’t work at the planning application stage?
We applied for planning in 2006. We have taken all the designs to a more detailed feasibility stage since we started manufacturing last year. This is when we brought in Professor Max Irvine based in Australia is the world’s leading expert on “damping” who advised us that the turbine had to go. To read more on the damping technology click HERE.
How about the rainwater harvesting?
Rainwater harvesting is something that you are able to do only if you are collecting rainwater from a flat or pitched roof. Unfortunately we don’t have a traditional “roof” as our “roof” is in fact the pavement for our boarding platform area. This means any water collected will be extremely dirty and will contain contaminants.? Although technically the dirty water could be cleaned, we have been advised that this would require ?a powered plant machinery and chemical additives to achieve this, and this additional power usage and chemicals would outweigh any environmental benefit from harvesting.
Have you you made any improvements to your sustainability measures since your planning application?
Yes. The i360 as proposed now is far more sustainable than originally proposed. The following have all been added to the scheme at our instigation:
- We will capture approximately 50% of the pod’s energy from it’s descent. Our engineers came up with this innovative solution when we found out that the wind turbine was not viable. This will create 60,000 KWH of renewable energy and demonstrates our commitment to minimising our energy use.
- We will be turning food waste into water to send less to land fill (this is food waste such as vegetable peelings and food scraps from plates, i.e., that cannot be donated to the homeless).
- We have installed heat pumps, which will provide 30% of the total thermal heating energy use.
- We are going to apply for the IS0201221 accreditation, which means our processes will be sustainable.
- We will sign up to a green energy tariff once we open.
- We have been working with our contractors to ensure our construction methods are as sustainable as possible, for example minimising what has gone to landfill and choosing concrete with a high percentage of recycled material.
Will there be any other planning application changes?
Yes. Our planning consent was given 9 years ago and inevitably our thinking has evolved in some areas and our design team have found some elements have needed to be altered to make sure the i360 is built to last.
We applied for consent to rebuild the arches last year, as we discovered that they were irreparable. This was consented, and had the support of the West Pier Trust and English Heritage. To find out more click HERE. We will also be submitting an application later this year to tweak the designs of our beach building in terms of the internal layout and uses.
If you have any more questions, please get in touch and we will be happy to answer them.