Rhug has an ethos of sustainability and in order to build a better picture of what this might involve we need to look at carbon.
So why carbon? Carbon has long been in the spotlight and this is because there is an alarming amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in our atmosphere. Although this naturally occurring compound is in fact essential, it’s believed that the excessive amount currently being released into the atmosphere is already having a detrimental effect on our planet.
So where is this carbon dioxide coming from? Numerous activities release stored carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide – activities such as using petrol to fuel cars, wood and coal on fires, oil in central heating and gas to cook. The industries that provide us with most of the products that we use day to day also release carbon dioxide during manufacturing.
There is good news; there are activities which either don’t release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere yet still produce energy or can actually help to reduce it – activities include planting trees and utilizing renewable resources such as water, wind and sunlight.
The carbon footprint of an organisation is essentially the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as result of their activities. Over recent years Rhug has been introducing technologies such as hydroelectric power, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps, photovoltaic systems and a biomass boiler to enable the Estate to reduce its carbon footprint.
A balance has been established between these technologies – sunny days aren’t often windy and windy days aren’t often sunny, the ground has more heat stored in the summer months while rivers swell in the winter – in this sense each technology comes into its own at one time or another.
Not only do these technologies reduce carbon emissions but they also reduce utility bills with many tenants benefiting directly from having such technologies installed in their homes.
Rhug is in the process of forming a long term plan for tree planting which would have many environmental benefits. The Estate is also moving towards better moorland management which can further help by protecting carbon stores that are in the form of peat; in some areas these stores are currently being eroded with carbon being released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
We hope to have some more information about the Estate’s reducing carbon footprint soon.