Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre

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In my hometown of Retford, North Nottinghamshire, it is well known within the town that the Idle Valley Nature Reserve (formally the Sutton and Lound Gravel Pits) is one of the best places in the town to visit for a nice walk. The reserve has its own Rural Learning and Visitor Centre that provides courses in environmental conservation as well as a public café, gift shop and a set up for bird watching across the lake.

I recently learned that the centre had been designed to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ and sits on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). Something that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t of looked for the information. The project used FSC timber framing and insulated wall panels in order to reduce potential disruption to the site, keeping the construction outside of the bird breeding season.  

Natural ventilation, lake source heating, photovoltaic panels, sun pipes and rainwater recycling were all measures taken to ensure the sustainability of the design and development, but people are not necessarily aware of these features or the positive changes that are being made within the construction industry.

I can’t help but think that more apparent information being readily available, especially regarding ambitious and sustainable design, would generate more interest in driving sustainable design into the mainstream.


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