Five years ago Glyndebourne became the first UK arts organisation to generate its own power, through its on-site wind turbine.
Situated a short distance from the opera house, the 67metre Enercon wind turbine was launched in January 2012 by Sir David Attenborough.
Since then energy-saving efforts combined with high average wind speeds have seen the initiative exceed targets.
Figures just released show that on average across the five years since it was launched, the turbine has produced 102% of Glyndebourne’s annual electricity requirements, outperforming its annual target of 90%.
In 2016 the turbine produced an annual yield of 1,408 megawatt-hours (MWh) with an average annual wind speed of 6 metres per second. This accounted for 99% of Glyndebourne’s electricity requirements for the year.
Energy-saving changes introduced to maximise the impact of the turbine include:
- Installation of a gas-fired condensing boiler
- Modification of the air conditioning system to reduce energy consumption
- Replacement of auditorium and car park lights with low-energy LEDs
- Installation of timers and light sensors to ensure that lights are only in use when required
Gus Christie, Executive Chairman of Glyndebourne said: “Five years on from launch, we are delighted by the success of the wind turbine. It has outperformed our expectations and played a big part in galvanising our drive towards greater sustainability. In addition to cutting down our electricity use, we’ve addressed all the other elements of our environmental footprint including waste, water and travel. There’s still work to do but I’m immensely proud of what’s been achieved and look forward to seeing further improvements in the coming years.’
Efforts to address Glyndebourne’s environmental footprint are driven by a group of staff volunteers. Future plans include:
- The addition of 20, new electric-car charging points for visitors and staff
- Further installation of LED lights across the site
- The fitting of Automated Meter Reading (AMR) devices to provide “real-time” data on when and where energy is being used to inform further energy-saving measures
- Feasibility study on the introduction of Solar Thermal Heating and Photovoltaic panels on selected roof spaces
Since 2013 Glyndebourne has been accredited with a 3* Industry Green rating by independent environmental organisation Julie’s Bicycle, the highest possible rating for environmental performance, currently held by just fourteen arts venues and outdoor festivals.