Firm foundations for dale’s new eco-centre
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
THE foundations of a new eco-centre in Teesdale have been laid.
Once completed, the building at Teesdale Conservation Volunteers’ (Rotters) base, in Startforth, will showcase the best of environmental building practices.
While site operator Martin Bacon had hoped to do the construction himself with the help of volunteers, he was forced to turn to contractors for the foundation work.
He said: “I thought it is beyond me really. The way it turned out with the amount of foundation blocks – 2,040 – it was ridiculous. Because we are in a flood zone we have to build it 600mm out of the ground.”
The work is carried out by Teesdale Building and Construction, which is based at Stainton Grove.
Now that the foundations have been laid, the bulk of the building will be completed using Isotex bricks, which Mr Bacon describes as being like “Lego for adults”.
The bricks are made from woodchip, bound with concrete and cement, with built-in insulation, making them energy efficient and easy to lay.
The final building will boast a variety of eco-friendly features and negotiations are underway with a variety of companies to install their products.
This includes Hydraloop, a firm based in the Netherlands, whose system recycles “grey water”.
Mr Bacon said: “It takes sink water, washing machine water and shower water, and recycles it. It is put back to flush the loos. It can recycle 500 litres a day, for a family home that could be quite impressive.”
The recycled water can also be used in washing machines and for irrigating gardens.
Rotters will also be looking at installing systems, like air-source heating, to make the building almost entirely self-sustaining.
Ultimately people will be able to visit the eco-centre to see the systems in operation to decide what they might want to install in their own homes or businesses to make them more environmentally-friendly.
Since the remainder of the construction will be done in-house Mr Bacon expects the building to be in operation in about two years.
He said: “We have lived in a wooden shed for 20 years so we are not in a rush. It is our masterpiece.”