Cutting energy and carbon at Eden
- Low-energy buildings
- Smart energy management
- Renewable generation
We're working hard to reduce the amount of energy we use here on the Eden site.
How we're driving down energy use
We've set ourselves a target to reduce our carbon emissions by 5% year on year - part of our commitment to retain our Planet Mark certification.
While shiny renewable technologies do have a part to play, especially in demonstrating their potential to the public, we're taking a much wider approach to our energy use. We've prioritised it like this:
1. Reduce energy consumption
It might not be the most exciting-sounding bit of going green, but reducing energy use in the first place is vital.
We have invested in technology and design to keep our energy use to a minimum, thanks in part to a loan from the Carbon Trust:
- Sustainable construction
We designed our buildings to include features that cut energy use, including super insulation and natural lighting and ventilation. Find out more about our buildings.
- Building Management System (BMS)
We've installed a BMS at Eden – it's like a giant TV remote allowing for very tight control of our heating and electrical systems. By integrating the multiple systems we have on site into just one, we efficiently regulate temperatures in the Biomes, the offices and other buildings across site, and make sure that we are never using more energy than we need.
- High-efficiency boilers
We've replaced an oil-fired system with a new gas-fired, high-efficiency boiler at our plant nursery, which is based several miles from Eden. Smaller, highly-efficient boilers have been fitted at the Eden Project itself.
- Energy-efficient lighting
We're rolling out a huge programme of fitting LED lights across our site, including in the Biomes and offices.
2. Raise awareness
It's no good having fantastic energy-saving technologies if staff don't play their part in greening operations too. We frequently run awareness campaigns and training across site encouraging staff to minimise energy use wherever possible.
3. Generate power
We're careful to avoid installing too much 'eco-bling' at Eden (impressive-looking renewable technologies, but which are inefficient or inappropriate for a given site). At the same time, we are actively investigating alternative sources of power that will enable us to be independent of fossil fuels.
We are also keen to demonstrate to the million or so annual visitors to Eden the wonder of renewable technologies, and to share with people what does – and doesn't – work.
We're experimenting with different technologies to make up a portfolio of power:
In partnership with Cornwall-based EGS Energy, we have planning permission for a 3-4MW geothermal power plant on the Eden Project site, taking energy from the heat in underground granite rocks. Read more about our geothermal project.
The photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Core, our education building, have a 30kW capacity.
In 2012 we launched Eden Solarfair, the UK’s first employee-owned renewables project, in partnership with Ebico. The pioneering scheme gave Eden staff the chance to invest in a new programme to provide free, renewable energy for the site, generated by solar panels, while offering them returns on their investments.
A 5kW wind turbine up near our car parks feeds into our overall power supply. We explored the possibility of erecting a 2MW turbine at Eden but, following lengthy talks with local people, we decided to look at less visible renewable energy options such as geothermal power.
We investigated harnessing the energy of an ancient watercourse from the tin mining era, which runs through Eden and down to the coast. Unfortunately it was too expensive for the amount of energy it would have produced and so we have put these plans on hold.
Reducing carbon emissions even more
As well as cutting our energy use, we're reducing our carbon impact in lots of other ways:
- We've planted millions of plants at the Eden Project that capture carbon every day.
- We source local, seasonal and vegetarian food, which all play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Find out more about our ethical procurement approach.
- We operate a green travel plan. Walkers, cyclists and those with combined coach, bus or rail tickets get discounted entry.
Plus, we source our electricity from Good Energy through their Selectricity scheme, the UK’s online market for renewable energy, allowing consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy directly. It allows us to choose exactly where our power comes from, helping create a Cornwall-based energy market. Find out more about this innovative scheme.
Renault electric vehicle fleet
In 2016 we introduced a fleet of 18 Renault electric vehicles. The vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions so are able to work inside our Biomes where diesel or petrol vehicles can't because of pollution concerns. Eden’s vehicles include the compact hatchback ZOE, Kangoo Van Z.E. and a brightly-coloured fleet of Twizy quadricycles. The vehicles are used for a wide range of work by a variety of Eden teams to ensure the smooth running of the project’s operations. Find out more about the fleet.