Reference Projects

Woodland Enterprise Centre

The UK workshop and offices of sister company Adventure Supply Co. Ltd shares a forest estate with an NGO that promotes the sustainable use of timber.  The Woodland Enterprise Centre < http://www.woodnet.org.uk> is itself an award winning assemblage of workshops and an education centre.  Various country and forestry crafts are covered with ongoing workshops and symposiums.

The structure was designed to reflect our work and the materials we work with, whilst concentrating on a sustainable eco building.  Steve Johnson from the Architecture Ensemble applied the necessary enthusiasm and creativity to our vision and the result is (we think) a beautiful building.  Challenge courses primarily use poles where trees are not possible so the base structure was initially erected as we would a rope course.  Laminated beams provide the rest of the skeleton and provide support to the research and development structure on the roof of the building.

Heating is provided by a wood pellet burner in the offices and the workshop will link to a bio-mass boiler using the scrap wood waste from our manufacture.  The local water utility proved to be a typically evil monopoly, so after months of them sitting on our money for a connection without any resulting action, we cancelled our application for a connection and installed a rain water harvesting system.  Composting toilets keep us free from a sewerage system.  The roof system is designed to allow us to establish a green roof, although the autumn fall-out of leaves from the larch trees may create difficulties and further research is required for shade tolerant species.

One of the problems with green developments is that not everyone understands what they are looking at.  A chartered surveyor appointed by the bank complained that floors were just bare wood with no carpet coverings.  Because our windows were not manufactured from uPVC he also did not realise that double glazing was in fact standard.  Our Fermacel walls did not appeal to him either.  Fermacel is a robust board made completely from recycled fibres, much stronger than conventional plasterboard.  Again the surveyor complained that our internal walls were unfinished because of the "missing" plasterboard.

This is a cautionary tale for any private enterprise trying to be genuinely green.  Establishment bankers and surveyors will not appreciate deviation from the norm.  Green, energy efficient buildings are more expensive to build in the the short term, with longer term savings in energy efficiency.