When the Parish Council set out to design and build a new community centre in Angmering, the Angmering Community Centre Association (ACCA) was determined that the building should be as energy efficient and sustainable as possible. Being a new build, the centre already benefited from good levels of insulation and draught proofing, but there were a number of decisions to make about the most cost-effective electricity supply and heating system.
The centre is at the heart of the community and its two meeting rooms and large hall are well used by resident groups for all kinds of activities and events. Having researched the renewable energy options in detail, the association working group recommended that the Parish Council should opt for two complementary technologies. With a large,south-facing pitched roof and adjacent grassland, the centre proved ideal for the installation of a large 60-panel solar PV array and a ground source heat pump to supply heat to the building. However, funding the installation proved a challenge.
Working with the Parish Council, ACCA made two successful bids totalling £80,000, one to the Low Carbon Building Trust and another to the Big Lottery Fund. Around three quarters of the funding paid for the 10kw solar PV installation which has produced more than 50,000kw in the five years that the centre has been open. It has also generated enough income through feed-in tariffs to meet the centre's energy bills. The two Thermia Diplomat ground source heat pumps, which drive the under floor heating and produce the centre's domestic hot water, have also proved extremely effective and reliable meaning that a back-up gas boiler or solar thermal panels were not needed.
According to the trustees running the centre, the installation has been really successful - a view shared by experts at Oxford Brookes University who have been carrying out an evaluation of the building on behalf of the Technology Strategy Board. But there is always room for improvement and the association is on the lookout for funding to create a zonal heating system and to upgrade the centre's lighting to LED in key areas.
Case study reproduced with kind permission of Angmering Community Centre Association.