Northern Ireland’s first low-carbon bus and train station has been opened.
A naturally-insulated “green” roof, solar panels, geothermal heating, and bricks designed for birds are among features of the building, according to operator Translink,
Work cost about £2.9m and had been under way since early last year, although the station remained open while the redesign was carried out.
The project was funded by the Department for Regional Development and the EU.
The bricks are called “Swift Bricks”, specifically designed for that species of bird, and have holes in them to allow the creatures to build a nest.
Currently the birds are nesting in the roof of the bus depot, and Translink says it is hopeful they will now switch to their new accommodation.
The station gets heat from “geothermal sources”, meaning pipes are plunged 100m (close to 300ft) into the Earth and take up heat from beneath the surface.
And the “green” roof is not a metaphor – it is literally covered with lichen.
Asked why, a Translink spokeswoman said it is “bee friendly”, and the vegetation is also good at cleaning rainwater which is then collected and used for toilet flushing.
Although the station only officially opened yesterday, the building opened “operationally” on Friday, said the transport organisation.
Welcoming guests to the official opening, Translink’s chairman John Trethowan said: “This new facility will act as an important gateway into Antrim, welcoming local people and visitors and enhancing the town’s appeal as a visitor destination.”