New centre is an energy saver

PUBLISHED: 11:57 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:27 04 May 2010

AN innovative new £3.5 million visitor and education centre - built using energy saving technology - has opened at Welney. The two-storey building at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, includes a multi-purpose area for meetings, business and community use a

AN innovative new £3.5 million visitor and education centre - built using energy saving technology - has opened at Welney.

The two-storey building at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, includes a multi-purpose area for meetings, business and community use and display space for arts and crafts.

There is a more spacious restaurant, shop, a purpose-built education room, which will provide greater capacity for schools to visit, and access to formal education programmes.

A 117-metre bridge connects the main building to the observatory and the centre has been built using environmentally-friendly techniques.

Rainwater will be collected from the roof for use in the toilets and fed through trenches to supply water to a large pond at the entrance of the new building.

Ground source heat pumps will supply low cost underfloor heating and reedbed filter systems will clean all the centre's waste water.

The new visitor centre is naturally ventilated with wall insulation made from recycled waste paper.

The reserve, on the Ouse Washes, was closed last month to train staff to use the new facilities.

Centre manager, Veronica Morriss, said: "This new development has been planned to introduce visitors to ways and means of using the world's resources sustainably as well as providing a fantastic base from which they can discover, explore and learn about the wealth of wildlife that exists on this reserve.

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