About this good practice
Mildenhall Hub brings together a number of different local services in one place. The site opened in May 2021, replacing several older buildings, reducing environmental impact, and making it easier for the Mildenhall community to access essential services. The hub is home to a school, leisure centre, children’s centre, library, job centre and Citizens’ Advice centre as well as providing office space for the NHS, police, Suffolk County Council, and West Suffolk Council.
Renewables at the hub:
• 472 solar panels which generate electricity during daylight hours
• A purpose-built battery stores renewable energy using 24 second-life EV batteries.
• A combined heat and power unit to generate electricity - uses the heat generated as a by-product for the building’s hot water supply and contributes to the overall heating of the building
• A ground source heat pump which provides hot water for the swimming pools and warms the air in the pool halls
• West Suffolk Council has already switched energy provider to Ecotricity meaning any electricity purchased is also 100% renewable
By replacing multiple, less efficient spaces with a new hyper-efficient building, Mildenhall Hub cuts down local carbon emissions and air pollution through reduced journeys. The hub is well connected to the surrounding area for cyclists and pedestrians and is on a bus route. For those who still have to drive, multiple electric vehicle charging points are available on site.
This multi-million pound project took over four years to complete and required significant government support, local organisational and individual contributions to delivery. Funding came from as match and in-kind from all the organisations involved and was led by West Suffolk Council officers.
Evidence of success
For West Suffolk Council:
• It delivers on climate change and carbon reduction commitments through low carbon heating and electricity. 35,740 kWh were produced by the solar PV in May 2022
• Invesment in renewables will payback and money will be saved on energy bills
• Reduces carbon footprint through use of low carbon heating and electricity sources
• Saves money and gives partners cost certainty on utility bills
For the community:
• Centralised, easy to access, modern services
Potential for learning or transfer
Large number of stakeholders and partners involved and a large number of renewables working together in a complementary manner.
Choose the right partners – With such a big and complex project, it was vital to choose the right contractors and suppliers. We’d recommend looking for experienced partners who have worked on projects of a similar scale and complexity in the past.
Be flexible and implement strong risk management – With a project that takes a long time to come to fruition, you have to be adaptable and build in contingencies for unexpected obstacles and new opportunities.