We set ourselves this goal as part of our commitment to tackling climate change for the benefit of wildlife and people across the world.
Marwell’s smaller carbon footprint has been achieved through energy efficiency, reductions in heating fuel, vehicle use, site waste and by generating renewable energy in the park. In addition, the zoo is now powered by Good Energy’s 100 per cent renewable electricity, which is generated from local sunshine, rain, wind and biofuels, helping to boost total carbon reduction by 72 per cent compared with 2008.
Duncan East, Head of Sustainability, said: “We’re delighted to have taken this big step towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral. We’re an action-based conservation charity, so tackling climate change and doing our upmost to minimise our contribution is absolutely key to our mission; as well as to supporting the worldwide goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.
“Our fantastic carbon reduction is based on 2017 data, so it doesn’t yet include our new biomass-heated ‘Energy for Life’ Tropical House, or the animal waste heating system which we are putting in place in the coming year.”
Last month Marwell unveiled its sustainable ‘Energy for Life’ Tropical House which will become the first zoo exhibit in the UK to generate energy using ‘zoo poo’, alongside woodchip biomass. Under the Tropical House’s curved roof, guests can experience face-to-face encounters with a diverse range of animals and exotic plants in a tropical climate, while learning about the flow of energy through life.
The exhibit will provide heating for other buildings across the zoo and enable the charity to further reduce its carbon footprint.
The zoo is also trialling an innovative system using thermal imaging cameras to control indoor heating for zoo animals to cut energy bills and carbon emissions. In partnership with IBM, infrared sensors are being used to continually monitor the bedding area of the nyala antelope for their presence. The information is fed to IBM’s cloud based Watson Internet of Things (IoT platform) which can recognise from the data whether the nyala are in the animal house and if the heating needs to be on. If successful, the experiment could result in a 10-30 per cent reduction in heating bills and will be rolled out to animal houses across the zoo.
Randall Bowen, Director of Business Services at Good Energy, which supplies Marwell with renewable electricity, added: “We’re passionate about helping Marwell Wildlife in their mission to protect the planet. Conservation goes hand in hand with sustainability, and Marwell provides an excellent example to other zoos and wildlife charities that this philosophy can be put into action. Switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity is a really simple step that any business can make to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint and ultimately help prevent global warming. As Marwell has shown, the possibilities for further sustainable choices are vast!”