The Eco-Centre, which is an energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly building, is aiming to be completely powered by renewable energy shortly..
Currently about half of its energy requirements is powered by renewable energy, in particular by solar panels and a new larger wind turbine which comes on stream in September/October this year should enable the Eco-Centre to be completely off the grid.
Eco-Centre Manager, Dale Greenberg, says that the Eco-Centre structure itself was built with as many environmentally friendly materials as possible. Thatch roofs were installed to keep the centre cool in summer, LED lighting has been used throughout the building and both the office and activity centre have large glass windows to maximise natural light among other things.
In addition the outdoor classroom showcases sustainable living best practices which optimise energy and natural resource efficiencies.
Sustainability elements showcased in the outdoor classroom includes:
• A PUXIN biodigester that digests organic material producing methane which is then burnt to create heat to power stoves and other appliances.
• Greywater which is harvested from the basins and used to flush toilets and for irrigation
• Rain Water Harvesting system which help fill the grey water tanks minimising the need for potable water
• Black Water Treatment system which sufficiently cleans faecal waste water back to a Grey Water state which can then be used for irrigation
• Earthworm Farm where earthworms feed on left-over food waste providing a fertile compost
• Composters which are open to the ground allowing insects access to the decomposing organic materials which are used as a nutrient-rich compost.
• Waste Recycling. Every effort is made to minimise the waste that leaves the island and everything that can be is sent for recycling.
• Wind Turbines. The wind turns these blades around a rotor which generates electricity which is harvested to charge Intaka’s battery bank.
• A solar panel on the roof harvests the energy from sunlight to heat water for the kitvhen geyser.
• Photo Voltaic (PV) Panels. One section of the Eco-Centre roof is covered with 8 large solar panels, more accurately know as photo voltaic panels. These panels generate enough power to charge a bank of batteries that can sustain the basic power requirement of the Eco-Centre’s energy classroom.
In addition the outdoor classroom’s amphitheatre is built out of Polywood which is manufactured from recycled plastics that would otherwise have been sent to landfill.