Low energy Conference Centre Earth Centre Doncaster

This is a building built to the highest super-insulation standards which is no less than we would expect from its architect, Bill Dunster. It has natural wind-driven ventilation with heat recovery from exhaust air transferred to incoming air. Solar collectors on the roof direct warm water to a calorifier in an underground insulated 400 m3 tank. Heat is stored over the summer to be circulated throughout the winter, with a wood burning stove for backup heat. A wind generator mounted in the boiler flue helps to meet the electricity demand (Figure 17.1).

The Conference Centre walls are of gabion construction, that is, loose stones contained with a galvanised steel mesh. In this case the filling comprises crushed concrete from a nearby demolished colliery.

Earth Centre Conference Centre Doncaster

Figure 17.1

Conference Centre, Earth Centre, under construction and completed

Figure 17.1

Conference Centre, Earth Centre, under construction and completed

Wet Earth Colliery

The timber supports for the main structure are rejuvenated pylons, probably telegraph poles, discovered in a lorry park. Most of the timber is either recycled or has received a certificate from the Forestry Stewardship Council. Only the Gluelam beams are from new timber in order to meet the manufacturer's performance guarantee.

It is impossible to avoid using cement, despite its very high embodied energy. Where possible GGBS concrete has been used in foundations etc. (p. 204).

Even the wet heating system uses radiators recovered from demolished buildings and the steel for the conical roof to the conference space is recycled I beams. The entrance steps are redundant railway sleepers (a growth industry). A useful website is www.salvo.co.uk.

There are problems associated with recycled materials. For example, subcontractors may be reluctant to work with them because of hidden hazards like nails in timber which can wreck valuable tools. In the Earth Centre example the contractor was able to underwrite extra costs arising from work on recycled materials. A main contractor may also experience difficulty in guaranteeing time and quality on a design and build fixed price contract. Sadly in 2005 the Earth Centre closed.

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

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