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Eco-station and Exhibition House are looking good
On May 24, 2012
Work to convert the old Ministry of Defence Fire Station into an Eco-station and the construction of a carbon-busting Exhibition House is going well.
The buildings will open to the public this autumn and will give residents an insight into how low-carbon living can work for them.
The Eco-station will house an exhibition about the Eco-town and this (along with the Exhibition House) will open in October.
The Eco-station will demonstrate how a redundant building can be brought back to life to serve a new purpose – as well as being refurbished to reduce its carbon footprint
The refurbishment will:
- halve the carbon footprint of the building (carbon footprint essentially means the amount of carbon dioxide a particular thing uses)The current carbon footprint of the building is 91kg/CO2/m2/annum. After the refurbishment it will reduce to 47kg/CO2/m2/annum
- reduce the energy required to heat the building by approximately 60%
The budget for the work is £675,000 and includes:
- insulating floors in the exhibition space, lecture room and south wing
- cavity wall insulation throughout the building
- insulation to inner face of external walls in former appliance bay and lecture room
- roof insulation
- passive stack ventilation to the lecture room (this is a system to suck air out of the building so that it is ventilated. Using a passive system saves energy and costs associated with a mechanical system)
- new energy-efficient lighting and heating controls to improve energy-efficiency
- new gas condensing boilers (energy-efficient boilers)
- double glazing to former appliance bay opening
- new toilets
- a new lift
- landscape work to the Eco-station forecourt
The majority of site waste has either been recycled, reclaimed or sold locally.
The Exhibition House will demonstrate low-carbon living and will be open to the public from October.
The project has provided a rare opportunity to test new design and technologies for low-carbon living.
The house has been designed to work as an exhibit – and in the future will be a family home.
The Exhibition House aims to be carbon neutral. It will do this through clever design and using eco-technologies.
The house has been designed to reduce energy consumption so that no conventional heating system is needed. To do this, heat will be gathered from the air spaces and redistributed to the living spaces during the day and into the evening.
The Exhibition House will have the following features:
- ‘super-insulation’ (insulation that is 600mm thick will be used)
- a trombe wall will trap solar energy while it is sunny and then when the sun goes down it will be radiated this internally
- a winter garden will catch and trap winter sun that comes in at low angles (this will create passive solar heating to the living areas of the house)
- An ‘interseasonal heat store’ will be installed in the garden. This is a tank supplying hot water for heating and washing that is an alternative to a domestic boiler. During the winter, the requirements for hot water will be greater than the energy met by solar thermal panels so the heat store will meet this extra demand. While additional heating requirements should be low due to the high-level of insulation and the passive heating from the winter garden and trombe wall, the heat store will be able to supply top-up heating in the coldest months. This will mean that a gas boiler (as used in conventional houses) won’t be needed.
- A mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system will be used – and for this to work the building needs to be air tight. This system works by extracting heat from the outgoing air from the kitchen and bathrooms – and warming incoming air (this is done via a pipe that is buried in the ground). The energy required to power the system will come from the solar panels
- The timber frame for the house and the roof structure were manufactured off-site so that they benefit from a controlled factory environment and reduce site wastage
- The sweet chestnut timber cladding demonstrates how even the external fabric can contribute to creating a low-carbon building. This timber has been harvested from local coppiced wood and the latest joinery technologies have been used to produce an economically-viable product
- Native species will be used for hedging. The garden has been designed to include raised beds, bee hives, composting bins and a large capacity rainwater butt
- Grow-your-own food will be promoted with a range of edible plants and fruit trees and an organic allotment and herb garden
- There will be signs around the house that explain the design and technology
The house has been designed by Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects. The budget for the exhibition house is £365,000 (please note that the cost of the Exhibition House is much higher than a standard eco-home would cost to buy – this is because it is a one-off and therefore it doesn’t benefit from the economies of scale associated with building a number of homes and also because it showcases many examples of low-carbon design and technology so that visitors can see a broad range of energy-saving measures).
Cllr Glynis Watts, East Hampshire District Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “I visited the site last week and it was marvellous to see how things are shaping up.
“It was particularly interesting to see the inner skeleton of the Exhibition House and how the very design of the building will reduce carbon emissions.
“It was also great to see how refurbishing the old Fire Station will halve its carbon footprint – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much insulation going into a building!”
Cllr Adam Carew, Mayor of Whitehill, said: “I have been aching to get onto this site to see how both these projects are developing and was really impressed with the work so far.
“I think that the Exhibition House will be an exciting opportunity for residents and visitors to learn about our greener, cheaper low-carbon living.
“It’s fantastic to see the old Fire Station restored and brought back to life, the front is highly insulated glass but it wont lose its historic identity as the red fire station doors are being reconditioned and will provide additional security at night. This new Eco-station will provide a superb exhibition space to show residents, schools and visitors about our green town.”
The Eco-station refurbishment and detailed design for both the Eco-station and exhibition house has been led by Ian McKay at BBM Sustainable Design. Riches Hawley Mikhail Architects did the original design for the house and have been involved through the development of the project to ensure the ideas in the original scheme were retained. Westridge Construction is carrying out the building work.