Energy and technology at BAS

It is evident from the demand and load data for Antarctic stations, Cambridge and ships that overall energy and consumption is increasing. The use of energy & water efficiency technologies to assist in reducing energy consumption are recommended as they are effective and relatively easy to implement.

Both passive and active measures of energy and water efficiency technology can be employed. Passive measures, include for example enhanced insulation in buildings and can often be simpler and more effective than control systems or other more complex active solutions. As of 2001, all new infrastructure (facilities, equipment, vehicles, boats etc.) is constructed with best practice in low energy design involving for example: enhanced insulations, heat recovery systems and highly insulated windows. They are also designed in order to allow future renewable technologies to be easily retrofitted.

It is important to note that implementation of active measures such as more sophisticated control systems may require increased maintenance and more advanced training for technical staff. Before new technologies are introduced, the cost effectiveness and potential for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions need to be considered and weighed up. BAS has already carried out energy surveys throughout its operations in order to identify key energy consuming activities and highlight significant potential areas for implementation of energy & water efficiency technology. Surprisingly a key issue at all Antarctic Research Stations as well as at Cambridge is refrigeration, including more obvious activities such as: ship propulsion, heating and lighting, IT and other scientific equipment.

Work already undertaken in recent years, as part of annual and long-term maintenance programs has demonstrated the success of these energy and water efficiency measures for the research stations:

  • Introduction of sub-metering for more effective monitoring of energy consumption
  • Reduction in the use of electric heating units
  • Introduction of more efficient reverse osmosis plants for water
  • Introduction of LCD screen monitors
  • Removal of inefficient lighting
  • Introduction of water saving flow reduction valves to showers