41 ways in which the Centre for Alternative Technology has changed people’s lives.

Home » 41 ways in which the Centre for Alternative Technology has changed people’s lives.

We are still celebrating our 40th birthday party.  Following on from our facebook post where loads of people sent in ways in which CAT has inspired them here is a much discussed and edited 41 ways in which CAT has changed people’s lives.

1.  1  Since doors opened  in 1975 over 2 million people have been informed, inspired and enabled at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

2.   2. The early settlers occupied a disused wasteland and through organic gardening and sustainable land management practices have transformed it into an oasis of biodiversity.

3.    CAT has led the way in experimenting and trying out renewable energy technologies, many of which are now mainstream such as wind energy and solar panels.

4.    1000’s of students have studied at our Graduate School of Education and have gone on to work in a wide range of different fields

5.    Over 50 companies have been sent up by CAT graduates as a result of their masters

6.    CAT has helped set up and support companies such as Dulas, Aber Instruments and  True Energy,  innovative renewable energy companies.

7.    CAT employs a significant number of people in the area.

8.    200,000 school children have taken part in our Educational programs and workshops

9.    Over 50 groups per year come and stay in our residential eco cabins where they have to manage their energy and water usage for their visit.

10.  The visitor centre welcomes 55,000 day visitors a year

11.   In 1978 CAT produced the 1st ever vision for a zero carbon Britain , last year we published the 4th, setting out how we can reduce our carbon emissions to 0 by 2030.

12.  CAT has worked alongside numerous other local organisations to develop tourism strategy for the Machynlleth area.

13.  Developed game changing carbon calculators such as Laura’s Larder, the Carbon Gym and Dan’s house. All as educational resources available to all.

14.  Facilitated the installation of the Bro Dyfi community wind turbine


15.  CATs runs a free information service open all year round, it responds to over 10,000 inquires annually.

16.  Hosted 100’s of conferences from leading environmental organisations in the UK such as the National Trust, Transition Towns, Friends of the Earth, Renewable Energy UK etc.

17.  Contributed to a wealth of media outlets through radio and television interviews

18.  Our sustainability experts have written 100’s of articles for publications across the world

19.  Printed and distributed 93,000 copies of our in house magazine Clean Slate, a practical journal for sustainable living.

20.  Researched and published 80 different publications, tip sheets and resources that have become leading titles in the sustainability arena such as the Wholehome book.

21.  Inspired a whole new generation of architects and planners through our masters courses

22.  Hosted numerous TV broadcasts in our WISE building, including BBC any questions and question time.

23.  Taken part in popular TV programs such as Blue Peter, All over the Place, Castaway, Changing Rooms, Countryfile and many more.

24.  CAT has won numerous prestigious environmental awards including the Ashden Awards, People and Environment Business award, Renewable Campaigners of the Year.

25.  CAT has been a test bed for sustainable, low impact building materials including earth, timber, hemp and lime.

26.  WISE’s 7 metre high rammed earth walls are the highest in the UK

27.  The Wales Institute for Sustainable Education has been a game changer in the field of architecture, since it opened it has won the Outstanding Earthen Architecture in Europe Award 2011 (Terra Incognita, Education and Culture DG, EU Culture Programme) Royal Institute of British Architects Award, Regional Architecture Award 2011 Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize 2012, National Building Excellence Awards 2011: Best Technical Innovation.

28.  WISE was listed number 1 in the Daily Telegraph’s list of “Top 10 Buildings of 2010”, Listed in the Guardian’s 2010 “Top 10″ buildings list Was “highly commended” at National Eisteddfod architecture competition

29.  Developed and designed solar fridges for medical use in developing countries.

30.  Through seed saving have preserved numerous indigenous varieties of vegetables and flowers.

31.  The CAT gardens have consistently demonstrated the benefits of organic garden, and provided vegetables all year round for our onsite restaurant.


32.  Garden volunteers at CAT have gone on to grow other organic gardening businesses such as the Green Isle Growers.

33.  CAT has raised awareness of healthy eating and whole foods via its onsite restaurant and the Quarry café and Quarry shop in Machynlleth ( now independent)

34.  Provided a platform for the integration of art, sustainability and the environment.

35.  Sold 1000’s of copies our book, the Little book of slugs popularizing organic methods of slug control.

36.  CAT participates and advises numerous national and international networks including the Scientific Advisory Council for Wales, INFORSE, Climate Change Commission for Wales, Technical Advisory board for Farming Connect.

37.  Since the 1990’s CAT has been home to the a colony of rare lesser horseshoe bats

38.  CAT has been one of the UK’s oldest cooperatives and inspired many other similar structures for organisations.

39.  The onsite community at CAT has been a living example of sustainable low impact living with 100’s of people living and working there.

40.  Known as the “poo” centre, CAT has led the way with eco sanitation research and applications.

41.  For the last 40 years CAT has demonstrated sustainable solutions for practical living and shown that low carbon lifestyles are not only possible but desirable. In doing so we have been part of an environmental and social movement which has reached the mainstream.