UK charities and heritage sites saved £7m through onsite renewables in 2017

More than 100 not-for-profit organisations, including the National Trust, RSPB and Oxfam, have collectively saved almost £7m on energy procurement costs from fossil fuel sources, after generating more than 48GWh on renewable energy to power estates in 2017.

The Fit for Future network is a mixture of national institutions, charities, art venues and select businesses such as Adnams Southwold and the Crown Estate. A new report released Monday (19 March) by the network revealed that its 102 members saved £6.97m on energy produced by fossil fuels thanks to onsite renewable arrays.

A total of 48.5GW of renewable energy was produced by members in 2017, enough to power a National Trust mansion for 138 years. Members such as Cancer Research UK, RNLI and Tate galleries look after 30,497 buildings across 815,290 hectares of land, including landmarks such as the Jurassic Coast and Stonehenge.

Fit for Future’s chair Sir Edward Davey said: “Climate change is putting the things we value most at risk, including buildings, landscapes and the wider environment. The organisations within Fit for the Future are rising to the challenge by collaborating to find practical solutions, which include generating their own clean energy.

“Member organisations are demonstrating that operating without damaging the environment is possible and, moreover, that it makes business sense. Manchester Museum’s 2017 energy savings could pay for the conservation of 8 Egyptian mummies, for example, whilst National Trust’s gas savings could pay for 7,105 metres of coastal wildlife trails.”

The amount of renewable energy produced by the collective in 2017 was 53% more than the previous year and projects are already underway in 2018 to increase onsite generation further. Fit for the Future was set up by the National Trust and sustainability charity, Ashden in 2013.

Historic Environment Scotland, for example, worked with Royal Household to reduce carbon emissions at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by 40%. Elsewhere, Field Studies Council saved around £10,000 in energy costs by working with energy managers across the network.

National Trust

The National Trust is embarking towards self-sufficient energy generation, having produced 12% of its heat from on-site renewable energy sources in 2016 – four years ahead of Britain’s national renewable heat targets.

While 12% of the National Trust’s heat is now met by renewable sources, the UK Government remains some way off meeting its 2020 national objective of the same percentage, with green energy sources only providing  4.5% of the UK’s heat  as of 2014.

The British conservation organisation has also drastically reduced its reliance on oil consumption, with a 50% drop on 2009 levels, as of December 2016.

Matt Mace

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