British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

Elm Cottage

Elm Cottage

One of the most exciting developments in the battle to reduce the environmental impact of parks is the ‘green’ facilities block. One park that is leading the way here is Elm Cottage Caravan Park which is situated in the beautiful Vale Royal, right at the heart of mid-Cheshire.

The park’s recently refurbished block incorporates a wide variety of environmental technologies and ideas. It is heated by a geo-thermal system that takes the heat from the surrounding ground, is fitted with all the latest in water-conservation technology and is constructed using attractive sustainably-produced timber by local contractors. It is also beautifully appointed with full adaptations for people with special needs.

"We moved to the site about seven years ago and it had a small toilet block which we knew we wanted to replace using as much green technology as we could afford," says Park Owner, Chris Bus, explaining how the project came into being. Chis found that solar panels were too expensive for his budget, so these were discounted in favour of the heat pump system.

This system, which comprises five 80m loops of pipe filled with a brine solution was a good bet as the park had plenty of land under which to bury it. A heat exchanger takes the heat the pipes pick up from the ground to provide hot water for taps and showers. The system also directly supplies an underfloor heating system. "We opened the system on the first May bank holiday 2008," says Chris. "We had a gas burner as a back-up, we used this the first weekend and haven’t had to use it again." To meet Chris’ financial targets, the system needs to pay for itself in ten years. He is quietly confident. "The way fuel prices are going, I think that yes it will. It also gives us a system that will make the park easier to sell on," he adds.