One Year On – Allerton Visitor Centre

On 11th September 2013, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust celebrated their 1st anniversary of the opening of their Visitor Centre in Loddington, Leicestershire. It was an honor to be invited to attend this event to celebrate this milestone with the trust and their researching partners. It was fascinating to learn that not only do they research into farming techniques and ecology, they investigate so much further into details such as containers design and recycling schemes.


One of the areas that I am always keen to learn about this building is its statistics. Designed to be energy efficient, how has the building performed one year on in terms of its energy consumption and usage? Below is a quotation from Dr Alastair Leake – Director of Policy and the Allerton Trust who has been monitoring the annual energy consumption of the building:

‘…The heat meter which measures the quantity of heat produced by the wood chip fired central heating boiler indicates we have generated 56 Mw since the boiler was installed. To do this we have burnt 14.5 tonnes of wood, saving 5,588 litres of oil at a cost £3352, and cutting our CO2 by 13.8 tonnes. The boiler has also provided all the hot water for the building’s wash-basins.

 If we ignore the cost of extracting the timber, which forms part of woodland management, the chipping cost us £1,400 to produce 90 tonnes. This was also dried in the grain store, stored and transported to the hopper, all of which has some, but difficult to attribute cost. Purely based on chipping cost at £15/ tonne, our own produced fuel has cost us just £225. Had we purchased the chip from a wood fuel supplier then the equivalent cost for the tonnage used would have £1650, about half the oil equivalent cost.

The solar panels have generated 5930 kw of electrical power, saving us £711 compared to purchasing from the grid, and brought income through the Feed In Tariff payments have generated £2,490. This has reduced our CO2 emissions by 3.11 tonnes….’

In terms of usage, the visitor centre has welcomed almost 2,000 people since its opening, Visitors include policymaker from DEFRA, European executives from Coca-Cola, farmers, scientists and schoolchildren. The local branch of the Women’s Institute also use the building regularly for their meetings and functions. It was reported that some 140 events and briefings were delivered within its first year of opening and the trust are also confident that they will surpass 120 events in the calender year of 2013.

These are all extremely encouraging facts and figures. Following the last feature in the local press after winning the ProCon Susatainable Development Award 2012, the building was once again featured in the trade press of Architects DataFile in October 2013.


Last week, the trust have notified us and confirmed the launch of their new website with a dedicated page for the Visitor Centre. For more information about the Allerton Project and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, please visit their websites.

Sylvester Cheung

10November 2013




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