Eco-building Design

The Reserve Centre is positioned next to the main car park. It is the base for managing the nature reserve and a place for visitors to call in and find out about the site. There is an exhibition gallery, lecture room and public toilets. A small shop sells drinks, light refreshments, ice creams, hot drinks, knickknacks and booklets.

The building was refurbished and extended in 2006/7 and several green building design items included. The new part of the building has a green vegetated roof. Heating is via a ground source heat pump which gathers heat from the ground in front of the building and warms the rooms through under floor pipes. Solar panels on the roof heat water for taps and provides supplementary heat for the under floor heating. Rainwater from the roof is harvested and stored in an underground tank and used for flushing the toilets. Sun pipes direct sunlight into corridors where there are no windows. Two examples are in the corridor to the public toilets. The pipes turn two corners on their way from the roof to the corridor. Large internal windows maximise passive heating from the sun and a high-level window that runs the length of the building provides ample daylight reducing the need to use artificial light. Windows in the visitor centre and lecture room face the west and north-west giving superb views over the dunes towards the sea and Kenfig Pool. On a clear day you can see the Gower Peninsula. A passive ventilation system keeps the main rooms fresh using natural air currents. The feel of the building is light, fresh and spacious. Where possible, natural building materials have been used including natural slate floors and lime plaster on the walls.

The images below show digging in of heat pump pipes, fitting of the green roof, solar panel and the rainwater harvesting tank.

The visitor centre currently has monthly art and photographic displays on show by various organisations and individuals. Funding is currently being sought for a permanent display.