Who Are We?

The Living Rainforest (TLR)

living-rainforest-logoTLR is a private, non-profit charity which promotes sustainable living through engagement with horticultural and ecological exhibits. TLR’s expertise lies in the effective communication of sustainability issues to general and specialist audiences. Previous staff experience includes extensive international work with the International Institute for Sustainable Development on ecological economics, sustainable development communications and forest issues. Each year, TLR welcomes over 70,000 visitors to its centre and over 100,000 to the website.

Karl Hansen B.A.(Hons), M.Sc., M.St.

Integrated Greenhouse Project Leader

Karl began his career reporting from rainforests around the world for publications including the Globe & Mail (Toronto) and Private Eye (London), following a first degree from the University of Toronto. He holds graduate degrees in forestry, anthropology and agricultural economics, earnt during a Rhodes Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford. In the mid-1990s, Karl worked in a variety of roles for the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and was a lead writer of Our Forests, Our Future (CUP, 1999), the final report of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development.

Andrew Logan

Integrated Greenhouse Project Co-ordinator

Andrew Logan, spent most of his career working on infrastructure projects in the IT and business process re-engineering world. Having retrained recently, taking the Advanced Environmental Energy Systems MSc. run by the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth in conjunction with the University of East London, he is now putting his project and financial management skills to good use in the environmental sector.

Lisa Mather MPhil

Marketing & Dissemination Officer

Lisa has worked in the environmental sector for over 10 years. After graduation she studied orangutan behaviour for a number of years and lectured undergraduate psychology. Subsequently she became Education Officer at the Orangutan Foundation and also led trips of volunteers to the Bornean rainforest. Lisa then spent a period of time as a freelance speaker and writer on sustainability issues, before running the Fairtrade Project at Cheshire Development Education Centre (CDEC), which involved co-ordination of the successful campaign to make Chester the first Fairtrade city in Britain. In more recent years, Lisa was employed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, as a Community Waste Minimisation Officer and later the organisation’s Sustainable Energy Team Manager. With a rounded experience of issues relevant to the Integrated Greenhouse project and as a member of CIM, Lisa is currently focusing her energy on project promotion and dissemination within the sustainability field.

The EC LIFE Instrument


The European Commission’s LIFE (Financial Instrument for the Environment) programme plays an important role in supporting European energy policy. By funding innovative projects which seek to demonstrate the technical viability and financial feasibility of environmentally responsible technology, LIFE helps to bridge the gap between research funding and venture capital. Since 1992, the programme has co-financed overt 130 projects directly related to energy and has promoted the dissemination of achieved results.

Plant Research International (PRI)


Plant Research International is situated within Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR), the national non-profit agricultural research organisation for the Netherlands, specialising in strategic and applied research. PRI’s Protected Cultivation Technology Group participates in this project, with specific competence in greenhouse design and construction, cover materials, climate conditioning and control, energy saving strategies and implementation of sustainable energy. As a research and design tool the group has developed reliable and validated greenhouse simulation models enabling the evaluation of newly designed year round performance of greenhouse systems. The Group participates in the EU Shared Cost RTD project ‘Watergy’ and the EU SME project ‘Agronet’ and has successfully participated in recently finished EU projects, including: the SMT project ‘New testing methods for plastic films used as greenhouse covering materials’; the FAIR projects Waterman and ‘Mioprodes’ and the Inco project ‘Hortimed’.

Prof. Gerard Bot PhD

Coordinator, Wageningen UR research programme on energy saving in greenhouses

Gerard Bot graduated in Applied Physics at Delft University and was awarded his PhD at Wageningen University, in 1983, on the physical processes and modelling of greenhouse climate. In 2003, he was appointed as professor in Applied Physics at Wageningen University with special emphasis on physical modelling in a 50/50 combination as senior researcher in a market oriented research institute, which has evolved nowadays to WUR Greenhouse Technology. His position as coordinator of the Wageningen UR research programme on energy saving in greenhouses is aimed at improving greenhouse operation and the design of new, sustainable greenhouse systems. Gerard is an expert on heat and mass transfer mechanisms in greenhouses, needed to accurately model a greenhouse system in interaction with the greenhouse properties, the greenhouse crop and the outside weather. In the Living Rainforest’s Integrated Greenhouse project this is applied for integral design of the new sustainable buildings.

Dr. Feije de Zwart PhD

Senior Researcher, Greenhouse Technology Group, Wageningen UR

Feije is a specialist in the integration of energy saving innovations in a glasshouse horticultural context. His work strongly relies on the development and application of simulation tools, enabling the pro’s and con’s of innovation in a continuously varying economic and technological environment to be assessed. He started this approach with research for his PhD thesis, documented in “Analyzing energy-saving options in greenhouse cultivation using a simulation model” (1996). Over the years, this model has been continually extended in order to meet new demands for insight and perspectives on horticultural energy saving for growers and policy makers. Since 2006, Feije has given increasing attention to the development of a user friendly interface between the models and the daily practice of growers, in order to support quantitatively funded decision support systems.

Thames Valley Energy (TVE)


TVE is a regional, non-profit body promoting renewables in the UK and Europe. TVE currently leads the Concerto ‘Renaissance’ energy project with 22 European partners, across UK, Spain and France and are the lead organisers of the annual South East Renewables Conference in the UK. The organisation participated in the renewable energy aspects of The Living Rainforest’s Integrated Greenhouse project Phase 1 and continue to advise and support regarding Phase 2 design.

Dr. Keith Richards BSc (Hons) PhD CChem MRSC

Managing Director

Keith has 25 years experience of renewable energy and energy efficiency project management and consultancy through ETSU (the Energy Technology Support Unit, Harwell), managing various £multimillion portfolios of projects. He has been central to the take up of energy from waste and biomass projects in the UK, developing and implementing strategies for Government. He has championed the development of resource assessment tools (particularly GIS) to aid in regional and community initiatives in the UK, Europe and OECD counties (through the International Energy Agency). Keith established TVE and over the last four years, has been focusing on working with community groups in close collaboration with Local Authorities and Regional Government to introduce hybrid renewables solutions. Of particular interest has been the development of local policies including SPG (supplementary Planning Guidance) to aid with the introduction of green energy solutions. Keith spearheads major renewables development initiatives at Bracknell, High Wycombe, Thames Gateway (Medway Council), Dundalk & Newry in Ireland. Keith is an expert evaluator for the European Commission and Task Manager for the International Energy Agency (IEA), a role extending for more than 20 years.

Ian Bacon BA (Hons) MSc

Solar and Built Environment Advisor

Ian leads on the Community Projects work that TVE carry out for the Countryside Agency and others, liaising with local agencies (e.g. EEACs on energy efficiency). Ian was the Energy Conservation Officer for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and joined TVE after a part-time secondment. Ian is also an experienced businessman after holding several managerial and consultancy positions in the Far East. His recent MSc in Environmental Policy and Management has provided a foundation for his present position in TV Energy as lead on Community Projects and the built environment. Ian is also an EcoHomes assessor and an expert on solar, ground source heat pumps and low head hydro technologies. Ian is also Project Manager for the Medway Towns activities.

Priva UK


European leaders in computerised environmental control systems for horticultural applications, Priva supply around 50% of the market. Priva UK have strong ties with horticultural producers across the UK and Ireland and their past experience includes participation in previous EU projects with Wageningen UR (see PRI, above).

Pilkington UK


Pilkington is a leading supplier within the global Flat Glass industry and has a strong international network, with manufacturing in 26 countries and sales in more than 130 countries. The company was founded in 1826 and has seen the Float process, invented by Sir Alastair Pilkington in 1952, become the world standard for high quality glass manufacture.

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