Derbyshire Eco Centre


Address/venue name: Derbyshire Eco Centre
Porter Lane
Building type: Educational Building
Green Technology: The Derbyshire Eco Centre has been built using sustainable methods, materials and technology to create an all weather facility to deliver heritage building skills, sustainable technologies, rural crafts, arts, environment and energy saving courses.The centre is constructed using local stone, has a living green roof, rainwater harvesting, air source heat pump and solar panels. A second development phase is planned to provide further sustainable technologies with the aim of making the site self-sufficient in energy

Venue details

Name of owners: Derbyshire County Council (Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service)
Who installed green technology: Various contractors working for Derbyshire County Council
Why they did it: The Derbyshire Eco Centre is the county hub for courses and activities focusing on education for sustainable development. It supports Derbyshire County Council’s work to address climate change issues.The construction of the building is important in promoting sustainability to learners, partners, community groups, organisations and the wider public
Benefits: The design of the site and the building are ideal for teaching heritage and sustainable building skills, arts and crafts to support the rural economy and conserve its heritage. Also

  • The design of the building and the surrounding landscape gained an ‘excellent’ standard from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Measure
  • The Eco Centre was listed in 2012 for a ‘Green Gown Award’ by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges, in the category of ‘Colleges and Smaller Institutions’
What were the biggest problems faced:
  • Persuading the powers that be that it was a good idea in the first place!
  • Getting necessary permissions to build on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) due to issues with protected water courses
  • Building on a site where you can’t dig down (pretty much on bed rock)
  • Sourcing sustainable building materials within the project budget
  • Finding sustainable technologies we could use on the site e.g. couldn’t use ground source heating due to bed rock
  • Getting all of the different technologies and contractors installing each of them to work together so it all worked
What did it cost, what savings are made: The whole centre cost £1.34 million and was funded by Derbyshire County Council, The Skills Funding Agency and the Derbyshire Economic Partnership
Advice to someone considering doing the same: Talk to the Centre Manager to find out what the issues were and what we learnt from the problems encountered