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Utilise Plus Event Report: Sustainability Tour of Weald & Downland Living Museum, Singleton
The Sustainable Business Partnership CIC’s first event of 2019 kicked off with a Sustainability Tour of Weald & Downland Living Museum in Singleton, near Chichester. This event was held as part of the SBP CIC’s ongoing Utilise Plus programme, which helps small and medium sized enterprises to reduce their costs and environmental impact by saving energy.
The SBP CIC’s Jack Dale welcomed delegates to the event and outlined the services available through Utilise Plus, from grant funding and energy audits to educational workshops and networking events. Jack then handed over to Julian Bell who gave an overview of Weald & Downland’s history and their ongoing journey to be more sustainable. For Julian, sustainability is all about “taking into account the long-term view of things,” which is why the museum has taken steps to ensure its environmental impact is minimal and to increase its resilience to future increases in energy costs. To do this, they had an energy audit of all 53 buildings on-site to identify potential energy and cost saving opportunities. The audit persuaded them to change to a green energy supplier which provides cheaper and more ethical energy. In addition to this, the museum has incorporated numerous energy-saving technologies and practices throughout, including an air source heat pump, a biomass boiler, a cardboard crusher to improve their recycling efficiency, and utilising the surrounding landscape for sustainable wood for heating and building.
After his talk, Julian handed over to Guy Viney who led the tour. First, we took a look at the biomass boiler. Currently, the museum has to buy in special pellets for the boiler which they hope to replace with surplus on-site timber in the future. Next, it was on to their impressive Gridshell Building. The building was designed by Buro Happold and Edward Cullinan and was constructed in 2002, costing just under £2,000,000 in total, with over half attained through grant funding. The building’s curvy design reflects the shape of the South Downs. Underneath the Gridshell Building is where Weald & Downland keep artefacts. This room is built into a slope which provides a natural layer of insulation.
After the Gridshell Building, Guy showed us Bayleaf Farmhouse and Poplar Cottage before bringing the tour to a close. The event ended with networking over lunch. Delegates enjoyed the event, with Julia McLoughlin of Ascough & Associates finding it “really interesting and very useful,” while Tim Grima of Downs Energy appreciated “learning what they have done to increase sustainability.” Suz Lambert of The Sustainability Centre described it as “an excellent way to understand the decision-making process around sustainable solutions.”
This event was fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we love hearing about exciting venues, passionate speakers, and enthusiastic event partners. If you’d like to work with us then please get in touch.