Group / Institution Information:
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) was founded in 1974 as a research, demonstration and education establishment with the aims of informing and enabling people to adopt more sustainable living lifestyles. It is based in a disused slate quarry near Corris, Machynlleth.
CAT’s demonstrations include; photovoltaic roofs, wind and water turbines, biological waste management, hydro railway, exemplar low carbon emitting buildings, organic gardens and an information and shopping service.
In addition, the centre has 30 years experience of facilitating a year round programme of residential courses. The total amount of visitors to the centre per annum is around 65,000.
Building the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE), which is a state of the art building complex for research and development, information transfer and business support. The 2105m² development includes a laboratory, 3 technical workshops, 3 seminar rooms, 200-seat auditorium, new catering facilities and accommodation for 48 people. It encompasses the latest in innovative sustainable design, with curved rammed earth walls, energy monitoring equipment, integrated photovoltaic roof, maximum passive solar design, composting and low flush toilets and roof gardens. Nestled into the edge of the site it adds to the visitor circuit and demonstrate cutting edge sustainable architecture and technology that seeks to be in keeping with the surrounding countryside.
Previously, most environmental seminars at CAT took place in buildings at odds with the issues being discussed. The WISE building demonstrates a replaceable, cost effective, example of a sustainable building and technology for students, visitors and business to draw inspiration and ideas from. The latest technologies, such as building, energy, water, sewage, monitoring and contract management systems is on interactive display for people to engage with.
CAT has experienced rapidly increasing demand for a venue to accommodate larger sustainability education events. WISE will draw on CAT’s 30 years of experience to educate a wide range of participants in the principle of sustainable development, enhancing Wales’s capacity to take advantage of new markets and opportunities.
The project aims to make life long learning in sustainable technologies both accessible and affordable. It will equip people from all sections of society with the knowledge and tools required to have a real and lasting positive impact on sustainable development.
This is a highly ambitious and far-reaching project which has great potential, and may well become one of Wales’s national flagship projects with regard to sustainable development. In terms of total projects costs, this project represents one of the largest CAE has been asked to support, however, it also represents on of the most high profile and highest scoring projects. The WISE project meets every criteria set out by CAE and enshrines a great deal of what sustainable development entails.