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Environment Agency's attitude surprised me

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We are designing a large headquarters building for a site within a large development where there is a sustainable drainage scheme incorporating a large holding lake.

To avoid traditional energy intensive cooling systems, we would like to explore the possibility of utilising the thermal capacity of the lake via a heat exchanger to cool the building structure, for example floors and exposed concrete soffits.

Enquiries with the Environment Agency (which is involved with the lake as an aspect of flood control and conservation) have met with verbal rejection of this idea, without a willingness to discuss issues, although we have been advised to make a written request for approval in principle. Before doing so I would welcome relevant information concerning this type of scheme and any examples of systems operating elsewhere, in order to hopefully convince the Environment Agency that such a proposal is worth considering in more detail.

We were more than a little surprised to receive such a negative reaction from an agency we had assumed was at the forefront of efforts to achieve sustainable development and environmental protection.

Richard Harris, architect r. harris@grayholmesjames. co. uk (received on the AJ+ Discussion Forum)

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