Wind turbine integration on roof tops and buildings.
Domestic, small scale, roof mounted wind turbines have a huge potential to contribute to localised electricity production, able to be installed on almost all varieties of roofs anywhere; although the degree of benefits associated will vary, depending on both the type chosen and location to which they are sited.
There are however a number of downsides to these small scale wind turbines, these are:
Vibration - As wind turbine consists of moving parts, this causes a degree of vibration to occur, which if mounted on the roof, is transmitted through to the building below, causing undue stresses.
Turbulence - Air passing over a building is distorted, resulting in cylindrical air movements. This interferes with the wind turbines normal operation resulting in increased stress and lower energy capture. This can be avoided however, if installed significantly above the roofline; however this is much more complicated and may negate any financial benefits. Or a sophisticated dampening system may be adopted, which separates the turbine from the building structure.
Safety – Turbines installed on roofs are a particular health and safety hazard, with higher risks associated due to their placement within close proximity to occupants. Their fixings need to be strong enough to withstand high wind levels, and noise levels minimised.
Efficiency – The majority of residents currently live in built up urban locations, which are sheltered areas, and consequently experience high degree of intermittent wind speeds. The average wind speed in a town or city is generally a lot less than for the same turbine in a rural and open location.
Financially these turbines are not currently viable for the mass market, however with increased grants becoming available, this situation may be changing, and if the price is cheap enough, these issues mentioned above may not necessarily be a problem.
The cost effectiveness may be increased through clever use of energy storage from the turbines, such as an electric immersion heating element in a water tank may be used, reducing the impact of intermittent electricity production, and making it more viable a source to meet a home’s energy needs.