By Denna Bowman
An eco-classroom made out of straw bales and earth-filled tyres has reaped a prestigious environmental award.
UK Youth, a national charity, created the building at Avon Tyrrell in Bransgore on the edge of the New Forest as a base for environmental activities programmes run with young people.
The building won the Sustainable Built Environment category in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainable Business Partnership Awards.
UK Youth, which specialises in educating young people through non-formal education programmes, received a £20,000 grant from the New Forest National Park Authority Sustainable Development Fund, with the charity raising £50,000.
Claire Gingell, Sustainable Development Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: “Not only is the building made of straw bales but it has a living roof, composting toilet and is in a beautiful setting next to a lake. The building stays cool in summer and warm in winter and has a wood burning stove for added heat when needed.
“It’s a fantastic example of eco-construction and is a showcase not only for the visitors staying at Avon Tyrrell but for other organisations hoping to introduce environmentally-friendly initiatives.”
Ben Hood, of award sponsor SMART, said: “The new classroom embraces the principle of education on sustainability through demonstration. It employs a number of building techniques, processes and materials including re-use of old tyres filled with rammed earth, straw bales between the frames and a living roof.
“The approach not only vastly reduced the impact of the build itself, but also demonstrates remarkable efficiency in its occupancy.
“Crucially, the judges felt that it also very successfully demonstrates that a quite modest project size should be no barrier to fully embracing the principles of sustainable design and construction.”