The Pump House Knowledge Hub in Shrewsbury is dedicated to helping local organisations and businesses gain and share knowledge, obtain and offer skills training and collaborate on solutions to the challenges of making buildings both sustainable and healthy.
It is the brainchild of EVORA EDGE, a national building services engineering consultancy based in Shrewsbury, which is working with the University of Chester on the project.
EVORA EDGE’s clients include corporate funds and real estate investment trusts such as Aberdeen Standard Investments, as well as local organisations, such as the Wrekin Housing Trust. It specialises in translating corporate sustainability strategies into the detail of how a building is operated and managed each day.
Neil Dady, EVORA EDGE managing director, said: “We know from experience just how complex and expensive it is to retrofit existing buildings to make them sustainable and zero-carbon. It is easy to spend a lot of money on things that sound good but just don’t work out on the ground because building engineering is so complex and decision making is done in silos.
“As a result, the sector is a long way from achieving net-zero carbon by 2050 and yet buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of all carbon emissions.”
He said a core part of EVORA EDGE’s ESG (environmental, social, governance) policy was the desire to give something back to the local community where the company is based.
“We decided that sharing our expertise and helping others do the same was one of the most useful things we could do.
“But we also want the Knowledge Hub to be a place where people can collaborate, get support and skills and begin to develop new solutions, products and services to help stimulate economic growth in the area.”
EVORA EDGE and Shropshire Council, through an economic recovery grant, have together funded the refurbishment of the ground floor of the Pump House on Coton Hill to include a small conference centre, three meeting rooms and a lobby/exhibition area as well as high tech meeting and presenting facilities.
All those involved in the sector of sustainable buildings can apply to use the facilities for meetings, training, events or brainstorming activities. Users will either pay subsidised rates or will be able to use the facilities for free in exchange for contributing to the wider Knowledge Hub project.
In addition, EVORA EDGE and the University of Chester, through the University Centre Shrewsbury, will together host joint ‘knowledge sharing’ events for local organisations and people.
Academics from the university’s engineering, physics, chemistry and data science departments will make time available to hub users including talking through the latest research and evidence in a specific area, providing access to renewable energy demonstrations and lab testing of soil, water and air quality. UoC will also provide a certain number of days to the hub to help signpost any relevant grant funding available and provide business support.
Professor Paul Johnson, head of University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS), said: “Here at UCS we are committed to playing our part in developing a sustainable future for Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas. We are pleased to be able to offer our academic expertise to support this project and look forward to helping others to achieve their goals.”