Energy is a key topic here at Epping Forest Field Centre we aim to reduce our energy consumption as far as possible. We encourage our visitors to reduce energy consumption, even by making a small difference such as turning off lights when leaving a room.
We have established a system for weekly energy monitoring of the Centre and residences including meter readings. Changes to the Centre’s operations and facilities have meant we are likely to have to reset our energy baseline.
We use oil to heat the Centre building, in September 2014 a new boiler was installed.
Many of the radiators in the Centre have been fitted with thermostatic radiator valves. According to the Energy Saving Trust installing and correctly using a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves could save £70-£150 and 310kg to 630kg carbon dioxide a year.
The Centre has Solar Water Heating Panels on the roof.
A refurbishment of our visiting student toilets included the addition of sensor light fittings. We also had solar light tubes installed into our staff toilets.
Over recent years, when replacing equipment we have endeavoured to upgrade to more energy efficient appliances including the photocopier and PCs. Our computers are the manufacturers flagship ‘Green PC’ - ultra energy efficient and low toxicity.
The Centre contributed to projects to develop ICT resources including the DFES funded Carbon Detectives Kit (www.carbondetectives.org.uk) and EU funded Carbon Game (www.carbongame.org).
We have been measuring and recording the weather and providing data to the MET office for nearly 40 years. With January 2014 being the wettest since records began and much of southern England and parts of the Midlands seeing twice the average rainfall for January it is often difficult to understand why conserving water is so important but water is a precious resource.
Water butts have been installed around the Centre to collect rainwater which is used to water the Sensory and ButterflyGarden beds.
Reducing water consumption
Water saving devices such as flush savers were fitted into the toilets, with the refurbishment of the student toilets these were replaced with a water saving flush. Push button taps were also installed.
The Centre’s boot wash not only provides a facility for visitors to wash boots and equipment but the water is re-used and drains into one of our Centre ponds.
Waste & litter
At Epping Forest Field Centre we try and minimise waste by encouraging Reducing, Repairing, Reusing and Recycling. We monitor our waste by regular weighing and recording at peak periods. We have also updated our Eco-Code poster to include themes from Lessons from Nature such as ‘Waste equals Food’.
Reduce, Repair, Reuse and Recycle
With the help of our fantastic volunteers we try as far as possible to repair and reuse our equipment.
We have reused plastic bottles to create ‘Bottle Biomes’ and for measuring water quality in the OPAL Pond Survey, margarine pots for collecting pond and terrestrial animals.
Each of our classrooms, kitchen and offices have paper recycling bins and envelopes and paper are reused in the office. There is also a central recycling facility for glass, plastic, paper and cardboard.
Composting is the most environmentally friendly way of dealing with kitchen and garden waste which produces compost that can be used as a soil improver (RHS). Compost bins in all of the classrooms and kitchen are emptied daily into composting facilities in Centre grounds. The compost is used in the Sustainable Garden, Sensory Beds and ButterflyGarden in the Centre grounds.
We encourage our visitors to ensure that litter always goes into a bin and where possible a recycling bin. Thanks to our volunteers our Centre grounds are kept free of litter and we try and keep our learning sites as tidy as possible removing litter as appropriate.
Our website has been updated information on how to get to the Centre by public transport, bike or on foot. We also provide information on our outreach sites which are accessible by public transport.
Our innovative projects such as Discovering Epping Forest and Learning for Biodiversity encouraged partner schools to use sustainable transport to travel to and from learning sites.