Centre for Alternative Technology

The Centre for Alternative Technology is concerned with the search for globally sustainable, whole and ecologically sound technologies and ways of life. A demonstration and education centre, CAT explores and displays a wide range of alternatives, communicating the options for people to achieve positive change in their own lives.

Opening to visitors in 1975, CAT set out to develop and prove, by a living example, new technologies which would provide practical solutions to the problems that are now worrying the world's ecologists. Today CAT acts as a bridge between those seeking to explore a more ecological way of living and the store of practical, hands-on experience and information gained by working with sustainable technologies over two decades. Located in Mid-Wales, CAT's unique seven acre visitor complex is the ideal place to start of your search into sustainable living.

Powered mainly from a combination of wind, water and solar power, the site contains an exciting and educational range of interactive displays. A state-of-the-art water-balanced cliff railway operates in the summer carrying visitors up a 180ft slope to the main visitor complex. The wind pavilion, small-holding, self build house, transport maze, solar and wave power displays have proved popular with holiday makers, students and serious decision-makers alike. 'The Mole-Hole' offers visitors a chance to 'shrink the kids' and lets them explore the complex beauty of life within the soil, so they can relate to their environment in a new and more positive way, one which reflects the ways in which our society is taking seriously the need to adopt sustainable technologies and life styles. In 1997 CAT opened Britain's largest solar roof. It generates over 13 kilowatts of power and is constructed using an innovative mounting system. Normally solar electric panels are mounted on top of existing roofs, whereas the new system uses standard panels as the roof covering itself. This results in significant savings in the cost of the installation by offsetting the cost of the normal roofing materials.

The visitor centre is open all year round, 10am-4pm in winter and 10am-7pm in summer, phone 01654 702400.

CAT provides practical ideas and information on sustainable technologies and lifestyles. By offering positive solutions, we aim to inspire, inform and enable people to cause less damage to the planet we need to live on, while also increasing their quality of life. CAT therefore offers a range of services:

The Information Service
CAT's information service backs up our visitors site giving basic information and references to enable people to take their research further. It operates by mail, fax, telephone and personal visit. Our information team is backed up by constantly updated databases and aims to answer all queries within a week. It is best to contact them by post or fax, with as much detail about the information you require as possible. Enclose a stamped self addressed envelope - it helps enormously in providing this free service.

CAT produces a range of publications which explain in more detail how to use sustainable technologies in your everyday life. They aim to combine an independent overview of the subject with the practical information needed to help you make ideas happen. Each publication ends with an address section or useful contacts. Publications include:

Send a SAE for a free publications list

Residential courses
For those who wish to know more and actually have a go under the watchful eye of an expert, CAT runs a residential course programme. Led by tutors with years of hands-on experience in their field, courses last from 2-4 days and include plenty of practicals and visits.
Send a SAE for a free courses programme.

Consultancy Service
For those individuals and organisations who have larger projects or require very specific advice such as project design and assessment CAT offers a professional, tailor-made consultancy service. Customers have included: Neath Borough Council, Amoco UK Ltd, The National Trust, University of Wales, College of Cardiff and British Rail.
Send a SAE for a free consultancy leaflet.

Educational visits
If you are a teacher or student - our education programme receives 25,000 school-age visitors each year. Tutors have years of practical experience from key stage two upwards, their enthusiasm is infectious and there are plenty of opportunities to talk on an informal basis. Those who wish can book a guided tour, slide show or question and answer session. The Eco Cabins offer a unique residential environment where pupils can manage their own independent electricity, fuelwood, sewage and water supply. The education service also has a series of publications written specifically for teachers and pupils.
Send a SAE for a free educational leaflet

Mail order service
If you need access to ecological books or products - our Mail Order service will deliver to your door. The free catalogue contains a wide range of carefully selected books and products.
Send an A5 SAE for a free Buy Green By Mail catalogue.

Alternative Technology Association
Joining ATA is the natural next step for anyone wishing to explore any of the ideas found in this catalogue. With 4,000 members, ATA is designed for everyone - individuals, families, students, organisations and businesses. ATA will help you achieve a higher quality, healthier lifestyle and reduce your impact on the planet. Your membership will also help us to develop the charitable work of the centre, supporting us as we develop and expand our work, investing in a better future for everyone.

Electronic media
CAT's regularly updated web site can now allow individuals anywhere immediate access to CAT's extensive resources. The site contains information about CAT, courses & publications lists plus our mail order catalogue. There are also concise and up-to-date publications free of charge. The trail begins with an electronic version of this user's guide, and from this central hub visitors can journey out into almost any sphere of environmental experience. Users can gain instant access to CAT's green publications and products via CAT's online green supermarket.

For further information visit our website.

Information Source

Prepared by ...
Paul Allen
Centre for Alternative Technology
Machynlleth, Powys SY20 9AZ, United Kingdom
Telephone +44 01654 702400 Facsimile +44 1654 702 782
Web URL http://www.cat.org.uk