Five ways Runway’s End has gone green

Jul 6 2022

children learning to canoe

If reducing emissions, becoming more environmentally friendly and tackling climate change is your aim, you’re in good company. Runway’s End is Hampshire County Council’s first site to be officially awarded a carbon neutral certificate by Carbon Neutral Britain. Our centre is able to offset emissions equivalent to 3,410,991 smartphone charges through the use of carbon neutral initiatives.

Alongside running a range of activities and programmes dedicated to educating students on how we affect the natural world, we’re dedicated to making Runway’s End as environmentally friendly as possible, so read on to find out five ways we’re reducing our carbon footprint.

Carbon neutral Britain logo

1. Biomass heating

Our biomass boiler heats water using locally sourced wood chips, providing hot water to the whole site and heating radiators to keep the rooms comfortable. All of our wood chips come from within a 40-mile radius of our suppliers in Guildford, and this renewable fuel has a far smaller carbon footprint than gas or oil. The insulated pipes also ensure we can use as much of the energy we produce as possible.

2. Rainwater harvesting

The rainwater harvesting system across our buildings fills water tanks that feed into the water sprinkler system and refill our toilet cisterns after every flush. By reducing the amount of drinkable water we use, we help water companies to save energy.

solar panels

3. Renewable energy

Last year we installed 27 solar panels to power all of our electrical appliances. All together our panels will generate about 10,009 kWh of electricity in a single year – saving 2.6 tonnes of CO2.

We have also replaced all of our incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs (which stands for Light Emitting Diodes) that use less energy without reducing brightness. Most lightbulbs work by heating a metal filament and surrounding gasses to such a high temperature that it produces light, that means 90% of the electricity used by the bulb is wasted on heat. However, LEDs produce bright beams of light with very little heat thanks to a property of semi-conductors called ‘electroluminescence’. By using LEDs, our energy consumption can become far smaller than the amount of electricity solar panels generate. With clean energy to spare, we can feed electricity back into the National Grid to help you to be greener too!

4. Planting trees

We’re not just reducing our impact on the climate; we’re giving back to nature too. We recently planted 400 native tree saplings to create a striking natural environment for future generations. As well as providing natural shelter from storms and cover for local wildlife, the root systems will improve soil drainage so burrowing animals can thrive.

plant a tree

5. Electric alternatives

Electric vehicles can be powered by renewable energy sources and emit fewer pollutants into the environment. We’ve installed charging points for electric vehicles in our visitors’ car park to help you make greener travel choices. We want to lead by example, so the equipment we use to maintain the grounds is all battery powered too.

But we’re not finished there! We have plans to add even more solar panels and install solar batteries to store back up energy for the shorter days in winter. The pond will also be improved to enhance biodiversity at the centre and develop a new habitat for local wildlife.

As we grow to become a leading ‘eco centre’ in Hampshire, we’ll be enhancing our current programmes, offering hands-on educational initiatives that teach our young people the importance of protecting the environment.

Find out more about how our education programmes can help to build a brighter future.