College ‘Ecobarn’ embraces nature

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A LOCAL college has taken a big step towards the future by looking to nature in the construction of a new ecologically-friendly building.

The King Edward VI Humanities College in Spilsby spent a year building its eye-catching and innovative ‘Ecobarn’.

The building features everything from a ‘growing roof’ and solar panels to ‘rammed earth’ and hempcrete walls with sheep’s wool for insulation.

And many of these innovative designs will provide a lo-tech but highly successful solution to the world’s growing energy crisis.

The earth walls, for instance, will work to keep the building cool in summer months, negating the need for air conditioning, but will also soak up the Sun’s rays and slowly release that heat during the day - meaning that the building should stay toasty in winter months without the need for expensive central heating.

Lights in the centre are also linked to motion sensors, meaning that only the ones that are needed at any given moment are ever used.

The use of light tunnels means that the need for artificial lighting is reduced even further.

And the college’s headteacher Margaret Reeve is absolutely delighted with these and the many other eco-innovations that will be used in the barn.

She said: “The Ecobarn is a marvellous facility for our students, our Primary Schools and local community wildlife groups.

“This purpose built, superbly equipped facility, provides the very latest technology for learning, in addition to providing a learning environment in the form of an eco-friendly building.

“Students are thrilled to be learning in such high tech classrooms and we are already extremely busy with enquiries from local groups about the use of our facilities during weekends and holiday periods”.

As well as using eco-friendly materials the college also made a point of sourcing material from within the local area - from the creation of stylish bottle-windows from old empties, through to the use of twigs and other wood from nearby land.

A number of local organisations were also brought on board for the project - from building contractors to local garden centres and councils to the National Farmers’ Union.

Among the organisations to offer support were the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, which provided information for some of the Ecobarn’s wildlife habitat displays.

The college is a member of the Trust’s junior club ‘Wildlife Watch’.

Mary Porter, is the local organiser for the Watch.

She said: “I’ve been to see the barn and was greatly impressed - they’ve made some innovative use of materials.”

She added that she was most impressed with the Ecobarn’s worktop surfaces, which are formed out of recycled plastic.