State-of-the-art canopies added to bus hub

The development, at Bournemouth University, utilises photovoltaic glass technology to provide renewable energy generation

As part of a £5m infrastructure development for Bournemouth University, a new bus hub has been built to offer passengers a high quality, purpose-built facility for journeys to and from the Talbot campus.  Together with Atkins architects, Able Canopies designed and erected two bespoke canopies, incorporating transparent photovoltaic glass technology into a practical and modern design.

Bournemouth University was looking to build a large capacity bus hub, aimed at improving the quality of services and an enhanced sense of arrival, allowing for future growth in bus use.

Mildren Construction was selected to deliver the project, and awarded the detailed design and build to Able Canopies.

Josh Foord, technical sales manager at Able Canopies, was involved heavily with the specification process. He said: “The shelter had to complement the design concept of the bus hub, and deliver on the university’s sustainability goals by utilising transparent photovoltaic glass technology to increase on-site energy generation capacity. A bespoke solution, based on our stylish Kensington system, allowed us to meet those needs and build in effective drainage, seating and under-canopy wind protection.”

The canopies’ unique styling provides a strong aesthetic statement, with an incline from three metres in height in the middle of the hub to four metres at the ends. Bespoke rounded glass end panels were also fitted to each end of the hub to create a stylish finish. Having previously used the Kensington on installations where solar power was required, the Able Canopies team knew that solar integration would be possible.

Another key consideration was how the solar panel cables were going to be concealed while still being easily accessible for maintenance. To achieve this, access panels were installed in the two support posts at the taller end of each canopy.

Josh added: “The result was a standout look for a practical transport hub, providing effective weather protection and a long-term payback via renewable energy generation. The project demonstrates the opportunities available to organisations to maximise the use of roof panels, and turn what could be seen as dead space into an added-value shelter with renewable energy generation.”

Marcin Grabowski, programme manager at Bournemouth University estates, said: “The power generating canopy is just one example of how Bournemouth University is investing to reduce its environmental impact. It is expected to save up to eight tons of CO2 per year, contributing to Bournemouth University’s carbon reduction target of 40% by 2020/21.”