We’d had a go at reducing our emissions in the past and already had hot water panels on the roof, but signing up to 10:10 meant challenging ourselves to make the biggest carbon savings we could.
Knowing where to start always helps, so we began by having our site audited. This was pricey but invaluable advice which set us going in the right direction. They assessed our energy use and identified a poor heating system as a major source of emissions.
Knowing where to start always helps, so we had our site audited. This was pricey but invaluable advice which set us going in the right direction.
It was clear, we'd need an entire system overhaul! After securing funding, we said farewell to our old oil and electric boiler and welcomed a brand new wood-burning one in its place. Our wood chip providers are all based in Warwickshire, but we’re beginning to source surplus timber from our own grounds to fuel the fire – as a wildlife trust, we have wood in abundance! At the moment we’re using about 10% of our own fuel, but what’s really encouraging is that within 2 to 3 years we won’t have to order woodchips in anymore, meaning our heating system will be entirely self-sufficient!
At the moment we’re using about 10% of our own fuel, but what’s really encouraging is that within 2 to 3 years we won’t have to order woodchips in anymore, meaning our heating system will be entirely self-sufficient!
We did take a little time to get to grips with the new technology and had a couple of hiccups, but overall the installation was a very positive process. Now we fully understand how our boiler works we can get the most out of it; small things like learning when best to clear out the ash and ensuring stones aren’t left in the woodchips really help. Our system is nice and easy; our chips are the right size, our supplier knows what we need, and we’ve arranged it so it’s easy to manage. It’ll be even easier when we use our own fuel. We’ve also helped our new boiler keep the building toasty with a bit of pipe insulation.
Travel is another biggie for us; thanks to our remote location, walking and cycling just isn't possible. Our staff have been fantastic with car sharing, and we’ve become more flexible about working from home and holding meetings via phone whenever possible.
As a wildlife trust, reducing our environmental impact is so important to us. Our staff are brilliant and our green team are always dreaming up ways to avoid waste. We’ve looked at the use of consumables, the production of waste, recycling, switching off – everything we could think of! Little changes like installing motion-sensitive lights in our toilet helped us cut down too.
It doesn’t stop with staff though - we have a prominent display in the building explaining the significance of the changes we're making, and with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, it's a great platform to encourage members of the public to think about their own footprint.
Our heater was a costly investment, but a smart one. Access to good advice doesn't come cheap, and our grant wasn’t handed to us on a plate, but with an incredible 53% knocked off our overall emissions, it was worth it.
What’s more, our boiler will pay for itself in 10-15 years time, and with our regular supply of wood our heating soon won’t cost a penny. In the future we’ll continue to cut where we can, and because driving is a necessity, we'd like to one day make the jumps to electric cars.
The one thing I’m always acutely aware of is that technology is moving on and there may be solutions out there we don't know about – we'll keep our eyes peeled anything that'll make carbon-cutting easier!