About the Building
The award winning 550 sq m building is an exemplar of sustainable design, using a wide variety of recycled materials in its construction. The timber panels are from sustainable forests and have a variety of fillings including wool from Cumbrian sheep and shredded recycled newspapers. Concrete use is limited and is also recycled from a source in Carlisle and the aggregates are reclaimed from railway lines. Paving slabs form the foundations and are recycled from a derelict cinema in the North East. The foundation piles are recycled food drums and over 46,000 recycled Accrington bricks have been used.
The ground source heat pump is buried at 120m underground and photovoltaic cells in the roof converts solar power to serve the building. The 9m wind turbine generates 6kw of power providing electricity for lighting and supplementary heating if needed, reducing running costs to a fraction. Any spare capacity will be used to heat the main school building. Although compost toilets were discouraged by building control, there is a 4000 litre capacity rain harvest tank that will collect and double filter rainwater from the roof, which is used to provide water for standard toilets. On the exterior, oak shingles from Cumbrian forests have been used for cladding, a planting scheme has been developed to encourage indigenous species and there is a pond to encourage wildlife.
The Eco Centre was funded with an award of £1.3m from the former Department for Education and Skills under the Teaching Environments for the Future scheme. Grants were awarded by the former Department of Trade and Industry under the Clear Skies scheme and the Lake District National Park Sustainability Fund. The initial feasibility study for the building was funded by the Rural Development Commission and the Royal Society for Nature Conservation.
Naming of the Building
The project was the vision of former headteacher Mike Wilde who passed away in August 2007. The building has been named in Mike's honour and was officially opened by the Schools Minister, Jim Knight MP in July 2008.