The wildlife discovery centre’s new system was paid for with a £30,000 grant from Northumbrian Water’s Green Scheme Fund.
The water company’s conservation and land manager, Stuart Pudney, visited the site at Druridge Bay to switch on the system, which features underfloor heating and a boiler system that can utilise wood pellets and locally harvested logs.
He said: “Northumberland Wildlife Trust is an important partner to Northumbrian Water, helping to protect the natural environment and to create and sustain habitats for a wide range of species. We are proud to have been able to support the re-building of this important visitor centre for the Trust and to play a key part in the creation of such an eco-friendly heating facility.”
The heating will be complemented by a clay and sand floor, which creates a large thermal mass that retains warmth.
Construction of the eco-friendly centre has utilised locally grown and traditional building materials, including more than 600 straw bales, all sourced locally, turf for the green roof from Ellington, and structural timber from the Trust’s Briarwood Banks reserve, in South Northumberland.
Duncan Hutt, head of land management at Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “Our new wildlife discovery centre at Hauxley has the potential to be the North East’s most eco-friendly building. Without the support of the local community and organisations including Northumbrian Water, it simply wouldn’t be possible to replace the building that was destroyed in the fire.”