It’s a bit later than we had hoped but, we finally cut the toilet roll ribbon and opened the new wash house to excited applause from the gathered array of campers, butterflies, bees, pied wagtails and a very inquisitive common lizard.
Its been a fun project and we have been indebted to Local Works and Shaun Ryder for their guidance and advice in building a forward looking sustaianable structure.
During the build we aimed to tackle
- Water saving
- Minimising the use of Concrete
- Reusing available materials
- Sourcing new materials locally
- Creating space for wildlife
The driver was a fantastic carbon calculator course i attended run by Green Growth in Brighton. It opened my eyes to what we can do, rather than what we can talk about.
Read on to hear what we have built and why it is so much better for the environment….
To minimise the use of concrete, we have used old telegraph poles to support the building. The telegraph poles were sourced from Crowborough and cut at a local saw mill.
To pass building control, we needed to source and then apply a paint that stops the pole from off-gassing. The poles are 1.5 metres into the ground and form the structural support for the wash house.
Sewage Treatment Plant
The first part of the build was to install a very quiet and innovative system to process the waste water and sewage. We chose a Kee system which treats the sewage on rotating Bio discs. It is a virtually silent plant and produces almost drinking-quality water which outflows into a ditch on neighbouring land. Join the queue to have a sip.
We have a 19KW solar PV array on the adjoining barn. The electricity that this creates is used to heat the hot water and to power the sewage treatment plant. This pumps the rainwater we use to flush the toilets and better still, is used for our 3 EV car charging points. Ovesco a local energy coop installed the system in 2012
We have installed a rainwater harvesting system that is used to flush all of the toilets in the new wash house. The water is collected from the adjoining barn roof which is also home to our 19KW solar PV array. The barn can harvest up to 330,000 litres per year and our tank can hold 10,000 litres. This water will be used for the majority of the toilet flushes at the campsite. Locase offered a grant to part fund the innovative features of the Wash House and we sourced most of the equipment from Ecosure
We have installed a waterless urinal to reduce the amount of water needed to flush the toilets after a wee. We have embraced the P-wave as a way of reducing splashes as well as filling the room with a honeysuckle fragrance.
The floor has been constructed using a locally-felled Chestnut tree. We have used the entire tree in the construction which ensures a lively mixture of plank widths and lengths. This is best seen in the end toilets where we have triangular shaped floorboards. We have left spaces between the floorboards for drainage and to allow dirt to drop through to the ground below. Andrew Coates was involved in the harvesting and milling of the tree.
Almost all of the doors were bought second hand from ebay. Only the family room door was reused from the old shower block. Each door is solid oak and they even had existing handles and hinges. The other old doors from the previous shower block will be used to make under sink cupboards.
Roof and floor timber has been sourced and milled locally where feasible. We have used larch from as close as Wildings Wood less than a mile away and the main larch timbers for the roof support came from a woodland near Crowborough.
We have clad the majority of the building using larch boards left over from the original project we had designed. Once these ran out, we completed the cladding using reclaimed corrugated tin.
The roof has been constructed using reclaimed corrugated and profile roofing sheets sourced from Ebay. These are good quality sheets that were removed from a building being demolished. The main roof timbers were sourced from locally-grown larch and were milled by Copfords in Crowborough.
Sinks, toilets and hand basins
Wherever possible we reused all of the existing toilets, washing up sinks, wash basins and hot water tanks from the original shower block. One hot water cylinder however needed to be replaced to ensure a consistent supply of hot water.
Ben and Ashley from Local Works cast the shower trays using reconstituted brick waste from Chailey brickworks, 1 mile away. This brick-waste was ground and then bonded to form a paste. Once dry, the surface was polished to provide a gentle fall, and smooth finish
For when it is hot, or for the more puritanical amongst us, we have designed an unheated outdoor shower. It is private, but now you can shower in cold water with an uninterrupted view above. I can’t wait to see how busy this gets.
Lights have a huge impact on wildlife, particularly bats, so we have designed the wash house to be dark when people aren’t using it at night. Lights sensors detect peopel moving into each area. The timers turn the lights off when movement stops. None of the uncovered areas are lit, so you’ll need to bring your head torch to wash up.
The bright light at the bottom of the picture is the sewage treatment plant light. This shows it’s working.
We would love to hear your feedback and please feel free to get in contact to arrange a viewing. We would be delighted to show you around and discuss how we built the Wash House, come on over…..