An innovative new community centre, dubbed the ‘Ecohub’ has been officially opened in Galingay, replacing the village’s old community centre. After the existing community centre had to be closed because of safety reasons, the local council decided to invest in a new centre that shunned the old, expensive wall-mounted electrical heaters the centre used to rely on and instead, implement the latest green technology to help combat escalating utility costs.

The building combines many different renewable technologies to help make the centre as sustainable as possible. The Ecohub utilises a ground source heat pump system alongside a solar thermal array to both heat the building and the building’s water supply. It’s estimated that at the systems’ peak they will produce 62kWh of heating and hot water.

The Ecohub’s south-facing roof is home to 100sq.m of solar photovoltaic modules that are expected to generate a feed-in tariff revenue of around £4,560 every year, for the next 25 years.

When construction of the Ecohub began, nearly all the old community centre’s walls were retained to help lower the environmental impact of the new building. In keeping with the ethos of the building sustainable materials were used as often as possible with recycled steel windows, solar sun pipes and low-impact softwood used extensively through the centre.  

Speaking to the Biggleswade Chronicle, John Mercer, Chair of the Community Centre Management Committee, said that the Council had tried hard to ditch the traditional British image of dark, cold and miserable community halls.

Mercer said: “We wanted a space that served the community in a wide range of activities from the library to sports to whatever you want to book it for.

“This building would not have been possible 20 years ago. The old village hall here used to cost more to heat than we could possibly imagine.”

The completed Ecohub houses a library, a large hall for sport and functions, a kitchen, café, changing rooms, a dance studio and a Parish council office – all run at zero cost when the feed-in tariff revenue is taken into account.