AtEIC Photo Gallery
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| - the progress of CAT's state-of-the-art environmental Information Centre |
AtEIC is a state-of-the-art information resource for practical environmental solutions, as well as a demonstration of the very latest ideas in environmental building design.
AtEIC provides the Centre for Alternative Technology with essential facilities for the communication of positive sustainable solutions into the next millennium. As the demand for information on sustainable technologies continues to increase, AtEIC will enable CAT to respond more efficiently to the thousands of enquiries it receives each year from individuals, charities, local authorities and industry.
A test bed for ecological building techniques, the new Information Centre has been constructed using a range of innovative low impact materials, exploring modern versions of traditional technologies.
- Limecrete' foundations
- Structural rammed earth walls and columns together with earth blocks
- Thick insulation using low grade local sheep's wool
- Local timber, using waste wood where appropriate
- Traditional lime rendering
Featuring the latest in energy conservation, heating, waste and water management, the AtEIC building will also operate as a model for commercial buildings. It aims to operate with zero carbon dioxide emissions. Technologies include: roof mounted solar collectors; a community heat main using renewables; rain water harvesting; low flush and compost public toilets.
Building work began in April 1999 and was completed in the summer of 2000. This picture diary of the project presents a step by step guide to how it was built.
Please take a look at the list of supporters without whose help the project would not have been possible.
Showing images 1 to 10 (Click on the thumbnail to see full sized image)
| || Clearing the Site 01/04/1999 |
The site being cleared ready for work to begin, levelling the slate waste on which CAT is built. In the background you can see the bags of lime that will be used in place of cement for the foundations and supports.
| || Limecrete 12/04/1999 |
We are using lime rather than cement in the concrete (or 'limecrete') foundations because it has a better environmental record than cement (which is responsible for about 7% of global CO2 emissions). However the quarrying and manufacture of lime can also be environmentally harmful, so we are minimising its use by careful design. As we are building on compacted slate waste, and the building will have a timber post and beam frame, we only need fairly shallow strip foundations.
| || Shuttering 29/04/1999 |
Temporary wooden shuttering is used to contain the raised limecrete plinth walls which will elevate the timber posts and form the base for the rammed earth pillars.
| || Heat Store 12/06/1999 |
The underground heat store and plant room, formed from limecrete poured into wooden shuttering, will allow the new building to be linked to the rest of the site via a heat main. The Ateic building will export excess heat from its solar collectors to provide hot water for the restaurant during the summer, and will import heat from the Wood Chip boiler, already used to heat the restaurant and offices, during the winter. This will allow the Wood Chip boiler to be used to its full capacity, running off what would otherwise be a waste product of the local forestry plantations.
| || Trusses 16/06/1999 |
While work continues on site, homegrown larch is being used to make the 12 metre double trusses which will eventually span the main space over the new shop. The trusses are formed with steel plates flitched into the principal rafters, kingposts and beams, with a 25 mm pitch pine wooden peg joining each kingpost to its beam. The two trusses are joined together by steel flitch plates cut into the beam ends.
| || Compost Toilets 01/07/1999 |
The new building will include state-of-the art 'green' public toilets using a rainwater collection system for flushing the Ifo ultra-low-flush toilets as well as waterless urinals and a compost toilet which will be installed with the assistance of Natural Solutions. The base of the twin-vaulted toilet, (shown here) is built of bricks with a lime mortar and will have doors at the front of the vaults to access all that lovely composted material! It will be the fifth compost toilet on site, joining that built by the Green Oak course in 1987, the compost toilet at the Eco-cabins and two others used by the community who live at CAT.
| || The Aquatron 01/07/1999 |
The waste from the 'low-flush' toilets will be treated through an Aquatron waste separator which will be housed below the level of the toilets. This separates the liquids, which are drained off, from the solids which will be composted. The system will be installed with the collaboration of Elemental Solutions.
| || Lifting the frame 05/07/1999 |
Raising the frame into place demands careful operation. Old carpet was slung around the trusses at the lifting points and chains attached from the crane. Long ropes tied to the trusses allowed the builders to control the movement of the truss as it flew over the building site and was lowered into position.
| || Posts and Beams 05/07/1999 |
Care had to be taken that the individual trusses and posts were stabilised with temporary posts and triangulated. The trusses will eventually be supported on the rammed earth wall. However, the roof must first be constructed to make a covered, waterproof area in which to ram the earth.
| || Structure 05/07/1999 |
By the end of the first day with the crane, the wooden frames for the main space are in place. This allows the building team to bolt the laminated Glulam beams to the steel plates, stabilising the structure.