Converted Victorian school, with extensive energy retrofitting, now a well-used community centre. Displays, expert advice and information.
A converted Victorian school, the Wilton Community Centre has been at the heart of Wilton since1985. The trustees wanted to ensure that the community facility, which is very well used and welcomes local groups and people of all ages, was fit for purpose and to keep energy consumption as low as possible. Thanks to a generous legacy from a local resident together with capital grants and local fundraising in 2002 the Wilton Community Centre embarked on a programme of energy saving improvements which have created a bright, popular, facility, reduced energy consumption and also generated an income which helps lower the Centre’s running costs.
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The Wilton Community Centre was originally a single-storey school and has been constructed in solid brick walls in Flemish bond and, as such, had no wall insulation. In order to reduce the volume of the heated space, a suspended ceiling was introduced throughout the building with four inches of insulation above it.
A number of extensions have been added to the east and south elevations and, although they may have been constructed with cavity walls, it is assumed they are un-insulated. The extension at the north east corner of the property (room 4) has been internally insulated and dry lined.
The original large Victorian windows were single glazed and leaking heat. By 2005 a programme to change the windows to sealed double glazed units had been completed, dramatically improving energy efficiency.
The property is centrally heated, with three different radiator loops served by a condensing gas boiler installed in 2009. Radiators have thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to enable efficient control.
Due to the high density of occupation, at certain times, ceiling fans have been introduced to the underside of the ceiling in the largest space to aid circulation of warm air around the building.
Wilton Community Centre’s electricity needs are met by the grid. Thirty-six photovoltaic panels located on the roof were installed in 2002. The system provides the grid with electricity and the building has a digital display panel that shows the carbon savings associated with the panels – see image below.One year’s return on the 36 PV panels c £2,000 – FiT tariff of pre 2011 -12.
Although the walls of the original Victorian structure could not be insulated, where possible cavity walls have been insulated in the later extensions. In 2009/10 four feet of insulation over new ceiling tiles in 2009 / 10 and ceiling was lowered and insulated in room 3.
The building is lit internally by a number of florescent tubes fittings that are recessed within the suspended ceilings. All stand-alone bulbs and tubes are low energy.
The Trustees and staff at the Wilton Community Centre are very keen to ensure that all the refuse generated at the Centre (including from the refreshment areas) is recycled where possible, including into the Centre’s own compost bin. Meanwhile there is a programme of work planned to improve the outside space including volunteers landscaping the garden.
In 2012, as part of the Wilton ‘Great Green Challenge’, the Wilton Community Centre was energy audited by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). They found:
The ‘Typical’ (average) and ‘Good Practice’ (upper quartile or best performing 25%) energy consumption for a similar building type (naturally ventilated, cellular plan office building) are set out within the table below:
|Energy use (kWh/m2)||Energy spend (£/m2)|
The energy bills provided showed a total of £1,780 spent on gas and £1,953.77 on electricity over the past year. There was no data to show the price charged per unit of energy however based on current energy prices (assumed to be 4p/kWh for gas and 12p/kWh for electricity including climate change levy and VAT), the centres gas consumption is approximately 90 kWh/m2 and the electricity consumption is approximately 31 kWh/m2. This shows that the building’s electricity use is above best practice and its gas use is between best practice and typical consumption.
BRE: Wilton Community Partnership - Environmental Audit Report, March 2012