Our 15kw Proven wind turbine was up and running and had produced over 13000kwh over its first summer period. This equates to enough energy to power an average 4-person home for a year. It developed problems and had to be sent to Scotland in 2012 for a re-build by a company called Kingspan Renewables. It has been back in action for the past 9 months and going strong. It has even been producing more energy since its re-build.
We hope to develop a water wheel from the old unit but are still working out how best to do it.
We have also been composting all our food waste, a difficult task when you consider the number of people, especially children, we have coming through here. After a number of teething problems we now have a solid system in place, which allows us to take the food from our kitchen and dining room and compost all of it. This has helped to bring down our waste bills and reuse left over food as otherwise it makes for heavy, smelly bins! Some of it also goes to feed the family chickens which are producing a steady stream of delicious eggs.
Alongside this we have been educating the kids and our staff about the value of recycling and colourful recycling bins can be seen decorating the Killary campus.
The horses are now gone due to lack of grass, however they are living locally and we can gaurantee they have not entered the food chain!
K2: (the main building)
We have made a few improvements over the winter with our new wood biomass boiler supplying almost all of our heating supplies. It has required a bit off effort and trial and error to regulate with loading and maintenance but has definitely been worth our while. The outside walls were also injected with small foam balls to help insulate and prevent any dampness occuring. PIR light switches have also been installed where possible to help keep electricity usage as low as possible.
We like our coffee here at Killary but our lovely Nespresso machine also produces waste. This year we have begun recycling the used capsules and sending them back to the company in specially provided bags. A little less guilt is attached to the enjoyment of our 11 o'clock breaks now!
Down on the 'The Farm'
On the home front we have installed both solar vacuum tubes and insulated the cavities/roof under the SEI scheme. This has been a great success and very measurable during cold spells. Using only wood and coal we were able to keep warm in the house. House has wood stove - gas only used for cooking. If we could come up with a domestic plant for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biogas we would install. Now essential in Asia http://www.fairclimate.com/tech/biogas.aspx.
Hoping to be carbon neutral this year in the house, no results on alternative fuels for vehicles and outboards yet but we are still exploring! We will be continuing to look at our energy requirements and waste stream and how to economically deal with these, as we hope everybody is.
We are looking at diesel outboards for watersports on our RIBs. They are not available until 2015 but we feel that they are the way to go http://www.coxpowertrain.com/
The next Killary Expedition departs in June and involves sailing to Greenland in the Killary Flyer with a team which includes a photographer, documentary maker, climbers, kayakers and of course sailors. Travelling by sail and with the use of solar power to recharge batteries as much as possible this will be a new dimension in Killary's efforts to remain environmentally friendly. Have a look at www.northofdisko.com for more details.
If you have any solutions or suggestions to make to our quest for a smaller carbon footprint please contact us as we would be delighted to hear from you.