A community outreach project based in the UK’s most energy-efficient historic building.
The National Trust‘s Livinggreen Heart of the Park project, or the Living Green Centre for short, opened on 5 November 2011. It is the only project of its kind in the UK and attracted 2,000 in its first week.
Formerly Morden Hall Park‘s stableyard, it now includes a café, exhibition space, the National Trust office for the park and craft workshops. Sustainable Merton hosts drop-in advice sessions on sustainability.
The National Trust’s project joins a number of similar eco-renovations across the EU funded by the European Commission, which are sharing experience on engaging local residents and businesses in sustainability. The £2.5m centre has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Thames Water.
It boasts a remarkable litany of green technologies, including:
Underfloor heating system powered by a wood-burning stove.
Air-source heat pump.
Solar ‘roof slates’, integrated photovoltaic and solar thermal panels and conventional photovoltaic panels.
Roof and wall insulation using wool, hemp, cork and Spacetherm (a silica-based material).
Original wooden window frames fitted with secondary glazing, with some windows fitted with triple glazing.
Rainwater harvesting tanks.
Internal walls have been lined with lime plaster. Not only is it less carbon intensive than cement-based mortar, it also absorbs carbon dioxide while curing and is less vulnerable to damage from floods.
Cycle shed has a livinggreen roof.
London’s first Archimedes Screw hydroelectric turbine was installed at the park and it was turned on by Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, and Rt Hon Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on 2nd November 2012. Alongside the turbine, fish and eel passes have been installed. The turbine will generate enough electricity to power the new visitor centre and education centre in the park. The original waterwheel has been conserved as part of the project.
The project has also received a Design and Innovation Award from the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors.
You can find out more about the technologies installed at the Living Green Centre through their Livinggreen guides which you can buy at the stable yard or download them from here.
You can find out more at the project blog.