Constructing Sustainability: The Wave

Credit: Image Cabin

The Wave is a visionary inland surfing destination that has sustainability at its core.

Designed to be accessible to everyone and reconnect people with the natural world, the focus of the 75-acre site is the 180sqm surfing lake, powered by 100% renewable and sustainable energy. A 1000sqm clubhouse sits unobtrusively, adjacent to the lake with landscaped gardens, woodland and meadowland offering visitors an all-embracing experience. For all involved in the construction of this ground-breaking project for the UK, its completion has been one of the most satisfying and profound to date.

Credit: Image Cabin

With the principle of sustainability sitting at the heart of The Wave, from the outset a Sustainability Strategy was drawn up with the support of Chris Hines MBE. The strategy itself is based on resource reduction and efficiency. Constructed on the triple bottom line approach, which covers a commitment to measuring their social and environmental impact in addition to their financial performance. The Wave developed their own “3 Wave” strategy and became the basis of all decisions made. Sustainability requires that the system does not make a loss in any of these “3 Wave” areas – profit, people or planet.

The entire site was designed from the start to be powered by 100% renewable energy, which is supplied by Ecotricity. The architects (APG Architecture) and engineers (Hydrock) worked collaboratively alongside the project team to engage other design elements on site and systems in the clubhouse which have contributed to an EPC score of 20 (A-rated) including:

– Air Source Heat Pumps; –

– Wood fibre insulation materials in clubhouse walls;

– Glulam Frame in place of Steel;

– Low Temp underfloor heating systems;

– LED /PIR lighting systems and controls;

– Future-proofed for installation of photovoltaics.

Throughout construction a robust waste minimisation/reduction process was implemented avoiding landfill and transport:

– 76,228m³ (all) of site excavated materials were reused;

– Existing sub soils used for structural fill to the clubhouse and wave walls, saving concrete;

– Segregated waste bins across the site allowed all putrescible waste to go to produce biogas and soil enhancers.

In addition to this, the materials used for construction were carefully selected to ensure they met all sustainability requirements inclusive of:

– Recycled Aggregates in the concrete mix;

– Use of Fibres in the slab = thinner concrete, less concrete, fewer deliveries, lower cost;

– A Drainage Blanket on the lakebed – less imported and quarried aggregates, less transport to the site;

– Lake is designed to operate at the bottom end of the water depth range so that excess rain is retained and the need for mains filling is minimised.

The land surrounding the main site was also meticulously designed to significantly increase biodiversity in the area, this involved:

– Planting of 16,000 new trees;

– Over 500m of new hedgerows;

– 13.5 acres of wildflower meadow.

Credit: Image Cabin

From the outset, public consultations helped the local community to understand the multi-dimensional nature of the project and the positive opportunities that would benefit both local and wider communities.

Since its opening, The Wave has created around 90 jobs for local people and is now one of the South West’s major leisure facilities. Through the incredible media attention, the region has been put on the world stage. Visitors from across the UK and Europe are having a major impact on the local economy. Local businesses are experiencing economic benefit from the increase in visitors to the area and new businesses are expected to be established around the site.

Credit: Image Cabin

The Wave gained a huge number of votes to win the People’s Choice award in the Institution of Civil Engineers South West Civil Engineering Awards 2020. It was also awarded Green Building Project of the Year at the 2020 BusinessGreen awards. In addition to taking home the Leisure & Tourism Project of the Year at the Michelmores Property Awards.

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