An Introduction to the Centre for Alternative Technology

A guide to the facilities and services offered by the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth


Based in Machynlleth, Centre for Alternative Technology (or CAT, as it is otherwise known) is a visitor and education centre which aims to demonstrate practical, applicable solutions for today’s sustainability issues. The Centre focuses on a wide variety of the many aspects of green living, from environmentally-friendly building techniques, woodland management, and eco-sanitation, to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and organic food growing.

Anybody looking to get some hands-on sustainable building advice is welcome at the centre where professional help is at hand.

centreforalternativetechnology 300x53 An Introduction to the Centre for Alternative Technology

Facilities at the Centre for Alternative Technology

The Centre for Alternative Technology is an unexampled and highly valuable practical centre for demonstration. The site acts as a living laboratory, inclusive of a wide range of ongoing, living examples of sustainable solutions.

The CAT site boasts the largest range of working renewable systems anywhere, including:

- Photovoltaic

- Solar thermal

- A micro-grid

- Grid-connected and off-grid systems

- Biomass combined heat and power (CHP)

- Air source heat pumps

- Hydro

- A community heat main

- A system of small and medium sized wind turbines

- Two reed bed systems

- Off-mains water supply

- Extensive and varied organic gardens

Daily Activities at Centre for Alternative Technology

On a day-today basis, CAT runs a number of services for visitors to the site:

- The visitor centre includes 7 acres of interactive displays and is open 7 days a week

- An information service is available to provide answers to questions on all aspects of sustainable living

- The centre runs a graduate school with various postgraduate degrees available in environmental architecture and renewable energy

- Residential and one-day courses are available for the general public, as well as courses designed specifically for electricians, plumbers, builders, and engineers

- Curriculum-based education is provided to visiting parties from schools, colleges, and universities

- Residential educational trips are hosted for schools and colleges in their unique eco-cabins

- The centre carries out educational outreach work, including school visits and teacher training

- Books are published on a number of key environmental issues and their solutions

- Long and short-term volunteer programmes are on offer for anyone looking to gain hands-on experience

- The centre has an ever-expanding network of supporters who receive a quarterly magazine and an invite to CAT’s annual conference

- There is an on-site eco shop and vegetarian restaurant. A mail-order service is available to those who cannot reach the centre for any reason

Relevant Projects

Centre for alternative Technology also runs or is involved with:

- ZeroCarbonBritain – various research reports addressing scenarios in order to reduce the UK’s emissions to zero in 20 years

- Coed Gwern – a 15 acre area of sustainably managed woodland, home to a range of courses, also monitored and managed to maintain biodiversity

- Dyfi Biosphere – the sole UNESCO Biosphere in Wales

Image: Jonathan Billinger 

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