Environment Centre woodfuel boiler, Wycombe

Environment Centre


The Environment Centre on Holywell Mead, High Wycombe was launched in November 2002. The vision of the Environment Centre is improved understanding and implementation of sustainable development in the community, leading to an enhanced quality of life for this and future generations


The main existing structure was an old redundant swimming pool café unused for many years. Funding from Biffaward and others has enabled the conversion of the old café to an environment centre for High Wycombe residents, schools and visitors.

Jane Campbell is the Development manager for the centre and she is assisted by a number of volunteers. The Centre is a registered charity and will host a number of exhibitions and events throughout the year as well as instigating project based work.

Renewable Energy Features:

Disposal of Waste

As part of the brief given to builders Basil Wyatt, they were required to minimize the waste from construction operations. Whilst the waste generated in the construction is what would be expected on a project of this size, disposal companies were selected that recycle approximately 65% to 85% of waste, dependent on type for disposal.

Heating the Centre

The heating for the Centre is by traditional radiators, heated by a boiler which uses either woodchips or pellets - again, by-products from the timber industry. This system is supplemented by solar panels on the roof to provide hot water during the summer months. (We had hot water the day we arrived, and the boiler had not been lit!)

Waste Utilisation

Some trees had to be removed from the site. These were shredded and chipped on site to be reused at a later stage in the landscaping scheme. Bricks from the demolition phase were reused to patch repair and infill old windows, etc - recycling materials that would normally be treated as waste and sent to landfill.

Importance to the Thames Valley:

The aims of the Environment Centre are:

  1. Promote community participation, understanding and implementation of Local Agenda 21, especially energy efficiency, the sustainable use of resources and action.for biodiversity.
  2. Promote awareness and understanding of, and community support for, strategies for sustainable development.
  3. Create a focus, meeting place and showcase for environmental groups.
  4. Create an interactive and supportive learning environment.
  5. Recognise, publicise and when practicable, reward successful local activity.

Centres such as the Environment Centre on Holywell Mead are essential to the education of the general public with regard to sustainability. They bring the concept of energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste minimization into the forefront of people's minds.

Useful Links

Foundation Firewood - www.fbcgroup.co.uk
Biffaward - www.biffaward.org

More Info

The Environment Centre is open to the public on Saturdays from 11 am – 3 pm. Groups are welcome to book visits at other times and should telephone or email the Development Manager to make arrangements. Email : janecambell@tiscali.co.uk

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