earth balance, northumberland



project details

Earth Balance Ltd.

c. £2,250,000

Design start Early 1993. Site Works 1994 - 2001


Earth Balance was conceived as a demonstration of environmental and social sustainability ­ care for those needing help in the form of environmental therapy, training, education and paid employment. All projects involved local people. A derelict farm was reinstated, converted to organic status, hedgerows replanted and a nature reserve created with planting of woodfuel biomass and supplies for a brewery and bakery, a new farm and organic box scheme supplying the local area. A number of locally owned businesses were started including a community composting scheme, an organic micro-brewery and bakery, textile recycling business and a number of small craft / light industrial units, along with a Visitor Centre, Fishing Lodge and a number of training / Conference / Care facilities.

The whole site was supplied by site derived renewable energy in the form of wind power, micro-hydro and a small pv supply. Space and water heating was produced by a wood fired central boiler feeding a district mains, except for contributions from the Bread oven, solar water panels and passive solar. Sewerage and farm effluent was treated in pond systems. The buildings were demonstrations of environmental design, albeit created with largely unskilled labour and at fairly low costs.

Working with Malcolm Newton Architects, Chris Morgan worked on 2 new buildings and a range of masterplanning issues including the building complex, large scale energy and water infrastructure, site planning, visitor and management with a sustainability ethos throughout all design decisions.



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