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The 19th century stable yard

The 19th century stable yard
NTPL Zoƫ Colbeck

Friday, 8 February 2013

A BREEAM 'Excellent' and our last blog post

So the Heart of the Park Project and its blog are finally coming to an end….my contract was due to end soon so I’m starting a new job at Merton Chamber of Commerce managing their Greening Business Programme – encouraging companies in 6 London boroughs to be greener. 

A fitting conclusion to the project is that the stable yard's just received an 'Excellent' rating from BREEAM, the world’s foremost environmental rating system. This is a big achievement as only the top 10% of new non-domestic buildings get an 'Excellent' so it's very rare for a refurbished or historic building to score so highly. Going through a BREEAM assessment is a big job - it uses a huge range of measures, including aspects related to energy and water use, health and well-being, pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes. So we're all very pleased!

The Morden Hall Park stableyard (Louis Sinclair)
Activities related to the stableyard and turbine will continue, of course, but they’ll just be part of normal Morden Hall Park life. Here are a few new developments or things coming up:

  • We’ll be putting in video cameras in the fish and eel passes next to the turbine. This will let us monitor how many and what types of fish/eels are using the passes. The cameras are being funded by Thames Water.
The Archimedes Screw turbine with its eel and fish passes (Caroline Pankhurst)

  • We’re fixing an evening for some free training/information by Parity Projects, experts on energy-saving retrofits, including information on the new Green Deal. This is being funded by Merton Priory Homes.
  • We’re also arranging a separate training session on renewable energy by Carshalton College on Saturday 16 Feb. This costs £5 and can be booked now by emailing
  • We’ve been shortlisted in 3 categories for the Sustain Magazine Awards – we'll know if we've won in early March. We’re also featured in their latest magazine.
  • We should have a long academic article published in the Journal of Architectural Conservation in the near future.
  • The Livinggreen Project’s final conference (with our European partners) takes place in Delft on 18-19 April and is free to all. The project’s final publications should be available soon afterwards – a book for homeowners and online guidelines for organisations wanting to set up similar Livinggreen Centres. See to keep up with the latest info.
If you're going to miss the project blog, remember that you can keep up-to-date with all of Morden Hall Park's events and activities by going to our page on the National Trust website: or following our Facebook page:

And on the subject of websites, if you know any small/medium businesses who might want 12 hours of free advice on how to be greener, please put them in touch with me in my new role here:

Finally, big thanks to all of our blog followers and others who've taken such an interest in the project - we had 10,794 hits on the blog in 2012! And I'd also like to thank everyone who's been involved in the project - NT staff, volunteers, community partners, funders, visitors etc! I've met some great people here and look forward to coming back and seeing what’s new – as I hope you will too.
The Livinggreen Exhibition in the stableyard (Louis Sinclair)
Caroline Pankhurst
Project Coordinator

Friday, 25 January 2013

Green Galapagos

Hello and happy new year to you all!

A few of my blog followers have asked to see pictures of my recent holiday to Colombia and the Galapagos, so I thought I'd put them on here and bring a little sunshine to this cold weather.

I won't bore you with cocktails on the beach, just some vaguely green things....

Firstly, I continue my fascination with recycling bins, and how much better other countries are. Here's a lovely giant plastic bottle in Colombia and a standard 3-set in the Galapagos:

Recycling bin, Cartagena (Caroline Pankhurst)

Recycling bins, Galapagos Baltra airport (Caroline Pankhurst)

When I got back to Heathrow's new Terminal 5, I was greeted by one bin for all rubbish, and someone looking round hopefully before putting a plastic bag full of plastic bottles in it. (No photo, sorry, clearly my blog wasn't on my mind after a 24 hour journey).

In the Galapagos they're building a new airport, which they claim will be the first ecological airport in the world. Its construction is designed to minimize the impact on the terrain and ecosystem. The project will feature wind and solar power, a desalinisation plant and ocean breezes to reduce the use of air conditioning. It reminded me of our project here!

 The new Galapagos Baltra airport under construction (Caroline Pankhurst)

The Galapagos as a whole is one of the greatest examples of conservation in the world. Visitor numbers are limited, and though I was surprised at how one of the islands has loads of shops, hotels etc, most islands are still uninhabited. Walking around you see hundreds of iguanas, birds etc and they just don't run or fly away, they're not afraid. These are the pictures people were no doubt wanting to see:

Us and a giant tortoise (Caroline Pankhurst)

 A nice crab (Caroline Pankhurst)

 Fluffy baby birds (Caroline Pankhurst)

Red-chested frigate (Caroline Pankhurst)

 Blue-footed boobies (Caroline Pankhurst)

 Turtles (Caroline Pankhurst)

 Smiley iguana (Caroline Pankhurst)

 Amazing coloured scenery (Caroline Pankhurst)

 Baby sea lion (Caroline Pankhurst)

Back in Quito, I was back on my cycling and recycling hobbies - with a new Boris Bike scheme and a lovely butterfly made from old beer cans: 
Bike hire in Quito, Ecuador (Caroline Pankhurst)

Butterfly from cans (Caroline Pankhurst)

Back to reality now. This will be one of my last blogs as the project's almost finished and I'll be moving on - but more on that next time....