The Interreg IVA Shadow Project and the Green Build Hub

Introduction:

CSBT (Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust) was established in November 2002 by Paul Bright, the current Chief Executive Officer.   CSBT was homeless when it was established, but has received many generous donations of accommodation over the years:

  • Eden Project – our first home, a Portakabin at a local nursery
  • Camborne and Redruth Urban Regeneration Company – a redundant tin mine
  • Cornwall Council – a redundant school
  • Imerys Minerals – redundant industrial offices

During this time, the Trust successfully gained a series of European Social Fund and other supporting funds to train thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies in Sustainable Construction and Development principles.  It also ran a series of conference and exhibitions for the growing fraternity of companies that it had trained – latterly in a series of events named Green Build Cornwall.  These events were based at the Eden Project in St Austell and Heartlands in Redruth and were well attended and received by participants; so much so that there was a growing demand for a permanent exhibition and dissemination venue.

In November 2011 this culminated in 150 delegates attending a supper event at the Eden Project where the development that has become the Green Build Hub (GBH) was initiated.

Four years on in the summer of 2015 the GBH Project will be completed.   All manner of support has helped to bring this much needed facility to completion.   Much of this support has been given as donated time and contributions.  However 75% of the net building cost (£1.4M) i.e. £1.1M has been granted by ERDF with the balance funded by CSBT’s finance.

The GBH is a sustainable construction Research and Development Living Laboratory designed to install, test and performance monitor building components, systems and structural elements. The ERDF funding was to complete the building and did not include monitoring equipment and the means to disseminate the data.  Much of the expertise and delicate sensors have been provided by a range of CSBT’s collaborators at or below cost price, representing a shared understanding of the value and need for this data to be widely available.

Input of the Shadow Project:    

In 2012 CSBT was invited to join an Interreg IVA Cross Channel project called LIBNAM for Low Impact Buildings using Natural Materials, indeed the GBH is an example of this type of building.  Following this first Interreg project CSBT was asked to lead a larger consolidation project with 9 cross channel partners known as ECOBEE for Eco Building and Energy Efficiency.

7 Vents

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One of our partners then asked us to join a small project to study and understand the embodied energy and water both in our construction and use of GBH. This project also supported by Interreg IVA became known as The Shadow Project. Lead partners, Les 7 Vents du Cotentin, worked with us to model our building’s embodied energy and water and to compare UK’s BREEAM rating system with France’s HQEThanks to this initiative CSBT has been able to work with our volunteers and collaborators to install monitoring systems.

Monitoring systems produce performance data, which needs to be interpreted and explained to potential users and beneficiaries. The Shadow Project also has a deliverable target of a project leaflet to explain the outcomes of the funding support. So it was decided to utilise this funding to design a SMART devise Application (APP) that visitors to GBH could download and use to tour the building and assimilate performance data and interpretation.  This will be achieved using Bluetooth nodes at points linked to the performance sensors around the building. It is believed that this form of interpretation is truly innovative and will contribute to a new way of understanding energy in buildings.  It is also hoped to develop this method in future for Shadow Project’s lead partner, Les 7 Vents du Cotentin, to use in their own retrofit building RENO3 and to further develop in their community energy outreach programmes.

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Green Build Hub