Reducing our ecological footprint

19 April 2010

The Findhorn Foundation is poised to further reduce carbon emissions by more than 100 tons a year with the installation of a new biomass boiler that will end dependency on oil and gas in a number of buildings.

While the community already boasts the lowest recorded ecological footprint in the industrialized world, project manager Graham Meltzer of the Foundation’s Asset Development Group says the latest initiative is a natural and essential progression.

“It is true that the community’s ecological footprint is relatively low, but our carbon emissions due to heating with gas and oil are disproportionately high,” he said. “The new biomass boiler will reduce our carbon emissions by over 100 tons per year, which should make us feel a whole lot better about ourselves as an ecovillage.”

He said the investment had been made possible by a £150,000 grant from Community Energy Scotland along with an interest-free loan of £100,000 from the Energy Saving Trust, which will be repaid over eight years.

The boiler, which will be installed behind the Park Building, will be fuelled by woodchips sourced from sustainable and fast-growing local pine forests and will make redundant all existing gas and oil boilers in the Community Centre, Universal Hall, Park Building and eight residential buildings in the heart of The Park.

The 250kW boiler, which will be housed in a steel container built in Finland, is expected to be fully operational by August, cutting annual CO2 emissions and offering a saving of up to £12,000 at today’s fuel prices.

The Findhorn Ecovillage has been at the cutting edge of sustainable development with the use of electricity-generating wind turbines as well as the creation of various types of ecological housing including some made from whisky barrels.

The Living Machine is a sewage treatment system that was the first of its kind in Europe in 1995, and uses a series of tanks containing plants and bacteria to break down waste without the use of chemicals, the end product being clean water.

Each year thousands of visitors from around the world participate in community life in a variety of ways ranging from tours of a few hours to involvement in educational workshops and programmes.

Visitors can join organized tours that run regularly in summer from the Visitors Centre at The Park or they can create their own self-guided tour with the help of a handy guide sold for £3.50.

Geoff Dalglish

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