Doing our best to be 'green'
It is quite difficult to keep your energy use as low as possible with old buildings but we hope that we are doing our very best to lower our carbon footprint.
We have for many years used solar thermal panels to heat the water in the coffee shop and have a new 135 panel photovoltaic system to help reduce our electricity consumption from the grid.
Our new office building uses a ground source heat pump with underfloor heating which is very successful and the total office space is lit by LED lighting.
The chocolate factory and shop have air conditioning with inverter technology using heat pumps as an integral part of the heating/cooling sysytem. A constant temperature is required in the factory for the production of the chocolate bars and filled chocolates
We now have only one oil fired boiler left and have replaced one with a new biomass boiler to reduce our oil comsumption to an absolute minimum. The biomass boiler has a zero carbon footprint and uses wood pellets and runs at 93% efficiency. The biomass boiler heats four units and supplies hot water.
We also have a biomass stove in the Coffee Shop to run the heating and water heating.
Throughout the winter months our renewable energy produces approximately 1500 kwH of energy per week and we should have a similar amount generated by the solar panels throughout the summer. We have reduced our energy costs by over 50% and not to forget our control of energy use by replacing hundreds of bulbs with LED lamps. We still have a long way to go in our attempt to get to as near zero carbon footprint as we can.
It is a good feeling to do your best for the environment and will of course save us money in the future.
A wind turbine would be an exciting addition but we are in an area of outstanding natural beauty and this may be one step to far!