Baffa Award winning ECO-HUB
Shire Group BSC Carried out M&E and sustainable studies on a newly proposed ECO-Learning hub for the Wildlife trust charity in Staffordshire. The purpose-built building features cutting-edge environmental design that delivers the perfect space for learning about nature in harmony with the natural landscape in which it will be located.
We have designed our M&E systems with sustainably in mind. We have proposed rain water harvesting, solar PV array (roof mounted), air source heat pumps providing heating and hot water and of course low energy lighting and appliances. We are hoping the building can almost run ‘off-grid’. With minimal mains electricity being used.
Gillian French, Head of Grants, Biffa Award said: “the technology being used in this new build is incredibly exciting. Every tiny detail has been thought of; natural daylight will be funnelled through the building to minimise artificial lighting and rainwater will be collected for toilet flushing. We can’t wait to see the finished product.”
The challenge with this project was ensuring we worked collaboratively with the architect to ensure the buildings was constructed in a way that allowed us to route our M&E services without impacting on the thermal fabric properties of the building.
The Biffa Award Learning Hub is a purpose-built building which features cutting-edge environmental design that delivers the perfect space for learning about nature in harmony with the natural landscape in which it is located.
The hub is based at the home of the Trust’s Wolseley Centre HQ, near Rugeley, which is surrounded by 26 beautiful acres of people and wildlife-friendly grounds.
It has been made possible thanks to a significant £318,000 grant from Biffa Award, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund, to allow it to be built.
The Cannock Chase Special Area of Conservation Partnership also very kindly donated £32,000 towards the cost of the hub to allow the Trust to complete the new building.
The Trust has also received funding from The National Lottery ‘Awards for All’ to allow an environment for all types of learners to be created.
In addition to the several environmentally friendly benefits of the building, the Trust is also developing a sustainable rain garden (funded by Severn Trent Community Fund) to complement the building, a place where children and adults can relax and learn about ways to minimise the impact of flooding and drought on a local level.
The charity was also extremely grateful to other businesses from across Staffordshire for several donations of equipment and furniture for the hub; Tuffa Tanks who donated rainwater harvesting tanks, Ideal Standard who donated the toilets, Howdens who donated two kitchenettes and Ideal Standard and Redwood Homes’ cash donations.
The charity is reminding schools and community groups from across Staffordshire that the new fully accessible learning facility is still open and accepting bookings.
The hub has been built using sustainable natural materials as much as possible, including natural timber cladding to minimise the visual impact on the landscape.
Other eco-benefits include rainwater harvesting and using greywater for toilet flushing, efficient insulation, sensor taps for reducing water use, air source heat pump and underfloor heating as well as large windows for passive lighting in the classrooms.
The Trust is keen to remind schools or groups who are thinking of booking that it has received its ‘Good to Go’ certificate from Visit England for following government and industry Covid-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social and physical distancing.
Jo Olivant, Head of People Engagement and Resources for the Trust, said: “The Biffa Award Learning Hub at The Wolseley Centre will enable thousands of children and numerous adults each year from the wider West Midlands region to learn about and be inspired by their natural environment.
“We are extremely grateful to Biffa Award for their vital grant and all those companies who have donated equipment to allow us to build and shape our Learning Hub. Without them, the hub would not have been possible.
“Any school, group or organisation who are interested in finding out more or booking the hub can get in touch with us and we are keen to remind them it is Covid-19 safe and secure.”
Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award Grants Manager, said: “It is great to see that the funding we have awarded to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, through Biffa Award, will help to fuel an interest and passion for nature in future generations. At a time when there is so much importance placed on time spent in and around nature, and its positive benefits on mental health and wellbeing, this Learning Hub will be a valued resource for community groups and schools across the region. We can’t wait to see it in use.”