The Alternative Technology Centre (ATC) is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1999 on the banks of the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge.

As an educational resource centre, we aim to make sustainability achievable and simply irresistible by working from a strong base within our local community to provide inspiration, accessible information and advice to improve the quality of life using sustainable means – economic, environmental and social.



What's New



ROOM in the Roof scheme

The ATC is currently promoting an insulation scheme which is specifically designed for the type of housing in the area, where people have a 'room in the roof'.

Up till now, grant schemes have not covered measures of this type but Greendale Housing have been successful in getting funding to carry out the work in two areas of Hebden Bridge.

In some cases the work can be carried out free - depending on the amount of carbon saved from the work, and the cost of haviing the work done.

Full details of the scheme, with maps of the eligible areas, can be seen here Room in Roof scheme

If your property is in an eligible area and you are interested, please contact the ATC on 01422 842121 (open weekdays - 10 - 4) or email us.

Room in roof insulation


The ATC has moved .... to a new, bigger and really exciting place - still in Hebden Bridge though. 
Give us a week or two to get settled in and then business as usual.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, email us at the usual address or telephone 01422 842121 (the new landline will not be connected till the 8th May so until then use our mobile 07768210005)

Making Place

See our facebook page for latest news, including the new arduino cafe Arduino cafe

due to start Feb 23rd here at the ATC - see here for more info.

is a new facility here at the ATC – an inspiring space for people to come and learn, share and collaborate on all things to do with making. 

It is a place where people can meet and work on their projects, share tools, techniques, knowledge and time, pool resources and collaborate on bigger projects. 

A place for geeks, artists, designers, engineers, amateur scientists, tinkerers, innovators and idle dreamers; of arduinosRaspberry Pis, electronics, crafts, robotics, DIY, open hardware, computing, reverse engineering, prototyping, film making, animation and other creative challenges and projects.

We are starting with a cafe with open Internet access, energy-efficient computers running open source software, and kits for basic electronics experimentation; where we will also be running workshops, talks and meet ups.

  • Low energy usage
  • Recycling/repurposing
  • Local suppliers where possible

See our February newsletter here


Making Place logo

Renewable Heat


The scheme was successful and there are now several households in the area in the process of installing biomass systems with an excellent level of grant contribution.


Register your interest for a grant for renewable heat by 16th November 2012


Do you live in the area marked red on the map opposite?


Would you like a GRANT towards replacing your existing heating system - are you keen to move away from relying on oil, coal or electricity for your heating?

This area of Calderdale has been selected by the Government as a community where we can offer HIGHER LEVELS OF GRANT (The Renewable Heat Premium Payment).

The particular heating technologies eligible for a grant are:

  • Solar thermal panels - providing hot water. These panels can provide much of your hot water in the year – saving £55 - £80 a year.
  • Wood pellet boilers – providing renewable heating of your home and saving from around £300 - £720 a year, depending what fuel you will be replacing.



map of area

Community energy

The ATC are working with Calderdale Council in running some workshops on Community Energy, as part of Calderdale Future Energy, across the borough. If you are interssted in hosting a workshop, or would like more information on Community Energy, please contact the us.

This is a rough guide to the various stages involved in setting up a Community Energy project.

Community Energy


Talybon on Usk hydro

Renewable energy fact sheets

Get yourself clued up on the different types of renewable energy and find out what financial help is available through grants and Feed-in Tariffs with these handy fact sheets by the ATC.

Solar Photovoltaics

Solar Water Heating




Heat Pumps

Financial Incentives


The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a new government scheme, which is to run in a similar capacity to the Feed-in Tariffs introduced in April 2010. The aim of the project is to get more people to install renewable heat systems in their homes such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps or a biomass wood boiler.

The benefits that are outlined for an average household using 15,000 kWh a year are 13,700 kWh of heat generated which pays the homeowner £1,400 a year. Biomass fuel could cost up to £575 a year so the total annual benefit works out at £825 a year.




The scheme survived the spending cuts and it was announced on the 20th October 2010 that it was to go ahead.

However, despite being urged by the green heat industry, the government have repeatedly delayed and is now expected to begin in June rather than April of this year, although climate change minister Greg Barker has refused to confirm this.

This has caused substantial concern among renewable utility companies as without quick implementation of the scheme, non-renewable electrical options will be pursued instead. The delays also hinder the governments aim to have 20 percent of heat being generated by renewable systems, a figure which currently stands at 1 percent.

To find out more about the RHI and how you can start producing renewable heat for your home, visit The Renewable Heat Incentive website.



A new project at the ATC.

Cycle recycle aims to reuse unwanted bikes – stopping them from being put into landfill (or the canal) – and helping people to be able to buy bikes at a reasonable price.

It also hopefully encourages more people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes, get fit and have some fun at the same time.

We take old bikes, as long as they are not too far gone, parts and accessories (except for helmets).

You can drop off anything at the Alternative Technology Centre but please give us a ring first on 01422 842121

See www.cyclerecycle.org.uk for more details

cycle recycle



What is energy efficiency?


Energy efficiency should always be the first point of call for anybody looking to address their energy use and wanting to green up their lifestyle - it is cheaper to save energy than it is to produce it.

 There are many options available for new build properties, but retrofitting measures on existing ‘hard to treat’ housing stock  can be complex, sometimes disruptive and  more costly. 

An average house in Calderdale uses 4300 kW hrs a year. Of this approx 61% will be for heating, 23% for hot water, 3% for cooking and 13% for lighting and appliances. Heat loss through the external walls is on average 35%.

 Hard to treat housing

It is estimated that 50% of the privately owned houses in Calderdale are classed as ‘hard to treat’ because of their age and or construction type. Much of the housing stock in the Upper Calder Valley is defined as hard to treat. These houses have random stone cavities or solid walls and or attic bedrooms.  This means that they can’t be  easily or cheaply insulated with conventional fibre insulation for cavity walls and lofts. They are usually houses that were built before 1930.  

What can we do?

There are three main ways of insulating a hard to treat house – alternative cavity fill, external cladding or interior dry lining.  All of these methods are relatively new technologies which have higher manufacturing and installation costs compared to conventional loft and cavity wall fibre insulation.  They do not yet attract the same level of carbon subsidy from the energy companies through the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) scheme as fibre insulation does.  However, this insulation reduces heat loss, makes homes cheaper to heat, protects the owners against the high likelihood of rising energy prices and may add value to house prices as house buyers begin to place more importance on fuel costs.

Alternative cavity fill

If houses do have a random cavity, it may be possible to treat this with an alternative form of insulation such as poly bead or liquid phenolic foam, subject to a survey.  These materials can be easy to install from the outside of the house and there is minimal disruption for the householder.  

Costs can vary depending on the size of the property and width of the cavity, which makes it difficult to give any estimation on price.  Additional work may also be needed to provide ventilation and ensure the condition of the external wall is suitable for this work to proceed.  These two products tend to be cheaper than the following alternative options.

External cladding Solid wall external cladding is generally a composite system made up of three basic layers –

  • an insulant, providing the thermal insulation
  • a fixing or framework, fixing the system to the substrate
  • a protective, decorative finish. This can be either wet render or dry cladding which is rigid boards, panels or tiling in a variety of different materials.

It will require planning permission as it changes the appearance of a house. This is particularly relevant in conservation areas. The benefits of exterior cladding are mostly in older houses in a poor state of repair where it will also improve the look of a building.

The costs are around £45 - £65 sq/metre depending on the product and the condition of the exterior surface.

Internal wall insulation or dry lining

This does not usually require planning permission except in a listed building.

There are various types of dry lining insulation available on the market. Thin types can be pasted onto walls in the same way as wallpaper and cause very little disruption, whereas the thicker types mean that all skirting boards, windows and doors etc have to be altered to accommodate them. They will also obviously reduce the size of rooms – often a problem in the small rooms in the typical terraced house.

A project being conducted in partnership with Calderdale Council and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on the energy efficiency of a back to back property pre and post hard to treat insulation works will inform a detailed specification of products and prices.

Another option?

Insulation can be very complex – there are many factors such as condensation and air circulation to be taken into consideration. Thick stone walls themselves act as heat stores and insulating them from the warmth of a room (internally) can remove this. Another option that can be considered is the installation of renewable energy technologies – solar water, solar photo voltaic (PV) electricity generation, wind or heat pumps. Please see our information sheets for more information. The introduction of the new Feed in Tariff (or Green Energy Cash Back) scheme means that this will cut the property's fuel bills dramatically.


Proper management of energy and altering behaviours to reduce consumption within a house could also go a long way to reducing bills and carbon emissions.


Much of the housing stock in the area is included in conservation areas and/or is listed. There are obviously complex issues to do with planning and heritage to consider – balancing the needs of people to be able to keep warm affordably and the general look and preservation of the heritage of an area. Please contact you local planning office for advice.


For a Cost Carbon analysis of different measures used to treat Hard to Treat houses click here.  


There is a display with full information on the different options for Hard to Treat houses at the ATC.



Power from the Landscape

The use of water power in the South Pennines can be traced back from the very early corn and fulling mills through to powering the Industrial Revolution of the 19thC. 

Power from the Landscape aims to make water power a common feature of the landscape once again and provide clean community owned energy for the people of the area. 

The landscape of the South Pennines is of steep sided valleys with small fast flowing rivers. The energy from this can be harnessed using modern micro hydro turbines to generate electricity to be fed into the grid.


If you have a site that you think would be suitable or would like any more information, please contact Pete Hill on pete@powerfromthelandscape.co.uk and see the website at www.powerfromthelandscape.co.uk


     Colden Water

Power in the Landscape


The Power in the Landscape project, carried out by the ATC with support from the Local Heritage Initiative, Hebden Royd and Calderdale Council and the local community, explores the water powered mills of the Upper Calder Valley, in particular the Colden Valley.

The Calder Valley was the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution and the project has also looked at the potential for putting hydro power back in.


Holme House Hebden Bridge
Holme House Bridge Mill
Photograph with kind permission of the Alice Longstaff Gallery Collection: a division of Pennine Heritage.





Other ATC Websites

Power in the Landscape

Power in the Landscape



cycle recycle

Cycle Recycle




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Alternative Technology Centre, Unit 7, Victoria Works, Victoria Road, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8LN. Tel. 01422 842121