Our Eco Building
Did you know...... that the Imaginosity building is an Eco-Cert Building?
This does not mean that we are painted green though!
Imaginosity has been designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment.What this means is that Imaginosity has been designed to be as efficient as posssible in terms of lighting, heating and waste, as well as using as many natural and recycled products as possible.
Below are some of the elements within Imaginosity, that defines our building as being 'green':
Efficient Heating System
The reception floor of Imaginosity is heated by underfloor pipes. Underfloor heating and cooling is a form of central heating and cooling, which utilizes heat conduction and radiant heat or cold for indoor climate control, rather than forced air heating which relies on convection. Our heat pumps operate by extracting available heat from the outdoors and transferring it into our building. Heat pumps have the same basic components as a refrigerator: Coils to carry refrigerant gas, a compressor to increase the pressure of the gas, and fans to circulate air. Even though winter air feels cold to us, it still holds a great deal of heat. This heat is transferred to the gas in our heat pump. The compressors inside our heat pumps pressurise the gas raising the temperature even higher. This heat energy is then used to warm our building. During the summer this process can be reversed automatically to give us a cooling effect.
The carpets in Imaginosity are made from goat's hair. Natural fibre flooring is great for allergy sufferers, as dust is kept to a minimum by the tight weaving process. All natural floor coverings absorb moisture from the air when it is humid and release it when the humidity drops, helping to stabilise the surroundings for anyone with respiratory-tract sensitivities.
Multi - Functional Walls
The walls at Imaginosity do many things:
- They support the building and give it strength.
- They also keep the building nice and warm in winter by using loads of insulation.
- The outside skin of the building protects us from the weather
On the 2nd Floor you will find an exhibit which shows a cross section of the walls of our building. This exhibit shows how the building is supported, protected and insulated through its design.
But that is not all......
The building is also naturally ventilated. This means that we open our wall vents and windows to allow the winds, and natural and free energy to bring fresh air into our building. A fan on the roof of our building pulls air through the building via the wall vents and windows.
The Use of Recycled Materials
- Recycled trainers were used to make the roof and this might be one of the reasons it is soooo bouncy.
- Recycled CDs were used to make the walkway around the building-can you spot the shiny particles?
The Importance of the Roof Garden
The Roof Garden is the area where most of our Eco story is told and also where Eco Badger lives. He can usually be found sleeping in his house!! Who's that snoring?
The Solar Panels are located on top of the windcatchers. The technical term for them is 'Photovoltaic Panels', but we like to keep it simple and use the term 'solar panel' as it is more readily understood by children. Solar panels work by converting solar thermal energy into electricity. The windcatchers play a very important role in the ventilation of our building. They are set up so they are able to work in both normal weather and warm weather.
How Wind Catchers Work in Normal Conditions
- Our Wind Catchers on the roof provide fresh air ventilation to the rooms below.
- The prevailing wind provides fresh air naturally to the rooms below (natural ventilation)
- Using separate compartments stale warm air is expelled using the natural energy of buoyancy and stack effect.
- Buoyancy is the process where warm air rises naturally. This is why hot air balloons float high into the sky.
How Wind Catchers Work in Sunny Conditions
- On hot, sunny days extra ventilation may be required.
- The Wind Catchers solar powered fans provide additional ventilation when extra air movement is needed.
- The solar panel on the top of the Wind Catcher provides free energy from the sun to power the fan.
- The Wind Catchers allow the buildings low energy ventilation strategy to be maintained.
We have 3 wind turbines mounted on the roof of our building. Our wind turbines are a spiral shape, mounted on top of a pole and scoop the wind, which in turn spins them around. This spinning motion turns the magnetic dynamo in the turbine which generates energy. This energy is then stored in a battery. We use this energy to power lights in our building.
The key sustainable features of our building are:
- Timber Construction (where possible)
- High Insulation (Low U-Values: U- Values indicate the heat flow through materials. The higher the figure, the higher the heat loss)
- Wind Turbines
- Mixed Mode Ventilation
- Micro CHP Heat Pumps
- Solar Water Heating
- Windcatcher with Photovoltaic Panels (Solar Panels)