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Our shift to renewable energy
This winter, The Living Rainforest fired up a new state-of-the-art woodchip boiler which runs on waste wood from nearby local forests and farmland. The new ‘biomass heating’ system is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 220 tonnes a year, and provide at least 50% of the visitor attraction’s energy requirements. With wood chip costing about half the price of heating oil, the shift to renewable energy is also proving to be a financial blessing.
The new energy system is attracting the attention of major companies, estates and government agencies in the South, all of whom want to reduce their own ecological footprints and heating costs. Leading renewable energy companies and builders show up regularly to show off the new Austrian-made boiler to prospective clients and promote biomass energy as a viable, low-cost energy solution.
Approximately 80,000 visitors a year, including 15,000 children on school tours, can observe the new system in action through a viewing window at the front entrance.
“We are really pleased with our new biomass heating system,” said Karl Hansen, director of the charity. “It feels good to do something locally to help combat global warming.”
Stuart Tagg, executive director of the Greenham Common Trust, added, “This project has been supported by the Trust as it aims to minimise its environmental impact and will help to demonstrate the benefits to the whole of society of adopting sustainable technologies.”
The wood boiler is part of a wider multi-million pound project to transform The Living Rainforest into a state-of-the-art ‘centre of inspiration’ for sustainable living. Phase 2 is now underway with European Commission funding to create one of the greenest greenhouses in Europe by the end of 2008.
The project was made possible with the support of funders including the European Commission, Millennium Commission, Vodafone UK Foundation, DTI Clear Skies and Greenham Common Trust, and with technical support from our partners TV Energy and Wageningen University.
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