Since its beginnings, the Centre for Alternative Technology has been experimenting with alternative construction methods, finding ways of limiting the impact buildings have on the surrounding natural environment.
The stone buildings already in place when CAT was established were renovated using local slate. Since then, the majority of buildings have been constructed using locally-sourced materials and timber frames. Turf roofs have been employed; these extend natural habitats for birds and insects and provide insulation by retaining heat in inhabited buildings or eliminating heat for food storage areas. Other buildings have harnessed the sun's energy using solar panels or sky-lights.
As you walk around the site you will also see examples of self-build techniques. Such methods of construction were pioneered by the architect Walter Segal and incorporate CAT's own energy-efficient adaptations. These methods of construction are intended to make it easier for non-professionals to build their own houses. There are also a number of low-impact buildings, such as the Straw Bale Theatre and the rammed-earth ATEIC building that houses the Information Centre and the shop. These are constructed using local timber frames as well as natural biodegradable materials which could be reused or recycled. Large windows and skylights draw heat into the building (this technique is called passive solar heating).
In 2006 we installed two pavilions to accommodate our brand new displays and provide shelter for our visitors during times of inclement weather. The "Wind Pavillion" is a refreshingly light structure made from local timber with a roof of recycled safety glass that keeps the atmosphere inside bright and breezy. The Wind Pavilion combines recycled and reused materials to great effect. The curved structure comprises post-factory whiskey barrels made of oak, and mock-slate roof tiles made of recycled plastic from car interiors.
Our most ambitious project to date is the construction of the WISE building which houses the new Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE) and opened on 12th June 2010. WISE showcases the highest standard of green building, energy conservation and renewable energy generation and incorporates rammed-earth construction and the latest solar technologies. It boasts teaching rooms, an exhibition area, a lecture theatre (pictured) and bedrooms for our residential course participants.
Show The Love at CAT this half term!
With the first signs of spring and love in the air we invite you to Show The Love for our planet at CAT this half term!
Join in with our nature inspired For the Love of…tours and activities and show the love for our planet and each other with crafty green heart messages and a green heart sticker swap!
For more info click here