The visual impacts of renewable energy systems : UK public perception of building integrated photovoltaics

Blewett, Tymandra (2000) The visual impacts of renewable energy systems : UK public perception of building integrated photovoltaics. Doctoral thesis, University of Northumbria at Newcastle.

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Abstract

Concern regarding the negative environmental impacts associated with the production of electricity by conventional energy technologies is now greater than it has ever been due to heightened environmental awareness. The current debate on the effects of pollution; climate change; acidification of forests and lakes; depletion of the ozone layer, depletion of scarce resources and the potential for severe accidents such as Chernobyl, has increased interest in appropriate alternatives for coal, gas, nuclear and other traditional fuels.
Research into the environmental benefits and impacts of renewable energy technologies and their implementation, and the ways in which they interface with society, is therefore imperative. As with any man-made structure, and particularly with the imposition of power plant construction on natural or urban landscapes, a potential environmental impact of the renewables is believed to be visual intrusion. This area of research, which investigates the visual impacts of photovoltaic systems in the built environment is vital if visual impacts which may be detrimental to the environment are to be avoided in the future.
This research explores the reactions of a key group in the population to the prospect of the wider use of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) in the urban environment. By learning about possible objections in advance, both system design and communication programmes can be developed to minimise opposition and increase public acceptability of this renewable energy technology. The specific objective of this research is:
To explore the perceptions of those who work near an example of UK BIPV, and therefore with some knowledge of this type of project, identifying information of use to BIPV
professionals and the general public (to help them understand and accept the need for extending the use of BIPV for alternative urban electricity).
The responses to an Interview Schedule and Visual Sheets, used during interviews conducted within sight of this UK example of BIPV (the Northumberland Building, Newcastle upon
Tyne), are recorded. These findings reflect genuine attitudes to this renewable energy technology, aesthetic preferences, etc., and are testimony to actual public opinion rather than assumptions being made by experts. The involvement of the public and cooperation of the multidisciplinary, BIPV team will challenge the Cartesian logic of specific and defined specialist disciplines. The continuation of research of a similar nature into renewable energy technologies will ensure that future sites are publicly acceptable and aesthetically desirable without compromise of a project's viability. This kind of technology integration, in combination with other energy efficient measures, within buildings will help to promote future holistic, ecologically sustainable architecture and urban planning.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by the British Library e-thesis online service, EThOS.
Subjects: H200 Civil Engineering
K200 Building
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 15:26
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2019 16:05
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/15710

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