civic Architects Ltd, Designers of Gamlingay Eco Hub, is an Environmental Excellence Finalist for the Architect of Year Awards2012
The reason for the national interest in the Gamlingay Eco Hub is its status as the greenest community centre in the country, a claim borne out by its radical and total use of renewable technologies and energy efficiency measures. The technologies include a combined Ground Source Heat and Solar Thermalsystem, a 15.54kW Photovoltaic array, recycled rainwater and maximisation of natural light and ventilation. The fact that all this it has been delivered in a small rural community with a very restricted budget makes it a national exemplar for other communities that might be similarly motivated.
The Eco Hub is not a new build but a refurbishment of a derelict 1970s building but this has not prevented it achieving an A grade rating for its energy efficiency, the highest possible for this class of building. This means that there are no fuel bills and indeed the building is a net contributor to the national grid. It also means that the building achieves its aim of always being warm and welcoming and the inclusion of cheap-to-run technologies gives the flexibility to keep it open to the public every day as a meeting point for the village.
One of the secrets of its success is that it is a multi-use building providing a permanent home for the parish council, the community run library, the children’s centre and a nursery together with facilities for a very wide range of hirers including sports clubs, youth groups and the arts and importantly, local companies who need meeting facilities which can bolster their corporate aims to ‘Go Green’whenever possible.