Sustainable Venue or Space

Menai Science Park

Menai Science Park, or M-SParc, is Wales’ first dedicated science park.  With a focus on housing companies in the low carbon, energy and environment and ICT sectors, M-Sparc provides high-quality office, laboratory and workshop space with the aim of helping growth within these sectors.  The building and its tenants are built around both economic and ecological sustainability.  With a BREEAM excellence rating, the flagship building has been built on Green Infrastructure, with a sustainable travel plan in place, solar panels, passive heating and cooling systems, and a robust recycling strategy for tenants.

The project lives and breathes the ethos it wants for its tenants, which is to be sustainable in every sense of the word. Looking at the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, M-SParc has addressed all the goals, and met them with its own targets, including business support for all tenants, improving diversity and equality, encouraging more women into science and entrepreneurship,  promoting the Welsh language, and ensuring the facility is fully accessible to all.  M-SParc has also adopted a strong environmental policy, and is establishing an ‘energy champion’ within the Facilities Manager Role.

Achieving Sustainability and Excellence by Putting the Learners First

The College Estates and Facilities Department at Coleg Gwent collaborated with external suppliers, contractors and students to develop a range of projects to help improve teaching areas, facilities and grounds.

At Crosskeys College, campus staff and Independent Living Skills learners (ILS) worked with the Estates team and the Leonard Cheshire Foundation to develop a section of unused land into a sensory garden with wildflowers, seating areas and raised planting beds for wheelchair users. The learners gained valuable employability and life skills including preparation of risk assessments, understanding of biodiversity, construction techniques and planning and ordering of materials.

All refectories have been refitted using partial investment by the catering contractor and more stringent tendering criteria has been adopted, which ensures sustainable and healthy food options and improved catering facilities at all five campuses, most notably at Usk Campus, which is also used by staff and members of the public utilising the Monmouthshire County Council buildings sharing the location.

A series of Higher Education ‘Hubs’ have been developed to give areas to learners for dedicated study and relaxation space.  This was done through refurbishment of an old lecture theatre, where many of the existing fittings were reused and ‘repurposed’ to provide the new space with a unique character.

Wye Valley Sculpture Garden

The Wye Valley Sculpture Garden started in 2012 but belongs to a much longer lineage going back into the 1950s when the Wood family began developing what would now be called Organic and then bought the property where the garden now resides in Tintern in 1965.

From the mid 1970s some of the land and property at Tintern was developed into a vegetarian and vegan guest house with horticultural and medicinal gardens, managed and self-establishing woodland and plantsmans  garden. The garden is now established as the Wye Valley Sculpture Garden by the granddaughter of that pioneering family, Gemma Wood. The woodland is maturing and is managed for biodiversity and as well as an educational environment for Forest Schools and other outdoor courses. These experiential courses are run by the Art of Sustainability.

Accommodation is available for people to stay and immerse themselves in the natural world. Horticulture for food and medicine is still practiced but no longer on a commercial basis. The main function of the land is to support art and education.

This former dairy farm is now a site of vibrant biodiversity that shows how humans can manage land for economic, nutritional, spiritual benefit while enhancing and boosting natural biodiversity.