Explore Eco Buildings for Free During Heritage Open Days


Heritage Open DaysHeritage Open Days 2015, running from this Thursday 10th September to Saturday 13th, is an annual festival celebrating England’s local history. During this time you can gain free access to buildings of every age, style and function, ranging from castles to factories, town halls to tithe barns, parish churches to Buddhist temples. This year, sustainable and eco -friendly buildings are a big part of the celebration. Explore behind the scenes for free at these unique places. 

WWF’s Living Planet Centre

At the forefront of sustainable design, WWF’s UK headquarters in Woking is one of the greenest buildings in the UK and will open its doors to the public on Saturday 12th. Awarded BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, and winner of a RIBA National Award 2015, the building makes clever use of materials, technology and design. Take a tour on the day and find out more about how a sustainable building can influence the working practices of a large organisation like WWF. There will also be activities for kids, including a workshop to create a model eco building using recycled materials.


Tour the Tridos turbines

In Bristol on Saturday 12th, Tridos Renewables are opening up their Avonmouth wind farm and inviting visitors to get up close to the turbines, which generate enough power to meet the demand of 4,600 UK homes. Experts will be on hand to answer questions about the construction and operation of the turbines, and there may be the chance to take a peek inside. There’ll also be  children’s activities and plenty of room for picnics.

Avonmouth wind turbine

Get inspired by Super Homes

Throughout the weekend, there’s also the unique opportunity to check out how ordinary homes nationwide have been transformed into eco-friendly havens. Home owners will be opening their doors to visitors and offering tours to showcase how they have lowered their carbon footprint using smart retrofit and design. Talk to the owners about how they have achieved energy savings and get inspiration for greening your own home. Search for ‘Superhomes’ on the HOD website to find places close to you, and check out this stunning example on the Network news pages.


Go off grid at Gibson Mill

National Trust’s Hardcastle Crags and Gibson Mill will also be opening its doors for free this weekend. The 19th century cotton mill is a flagship example of a historic property made sustainable, and is completely off-grid. Local natural resources provide its heating, electricity and water. There are interpretation points throughout the mill that explain where the green technologies are used and how they work, from the hydro turbine to the solar thermal panels.

SONY DSCImage © Rachel Docherty

For more events taking place as part of Heritage Open Days, take a look at the web directory and refine your search to ‘green living’ for more eco offers.