Gloucestershire businesses have been busy upgrading their facilities and ways of working to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
SoGlos highlights some of the most interesting sustainability projects across the county, shining a light on the businesses doing their best to go green and help reduce carbon emissions.
Stroud District Council decarbonisation strategy
Cotswold Energy Group, a leading renewable energy company based in Stonehouse near Stroud, won the contract, with work already under way at three Stroud District Council-owned sites — Stratford Park Leisure Centre, The Museum in the Park in Stroud and The Pulse leisure centre in Dursley. The project, which involves replacing ageing gas boilers with brand-new air source heat pumps, is a key part of the council’s target for the district to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Forest Green Rovers Eco Park stadium
The ambitious plans for the Forest Green Rovers new Eco Park have been in motion since the architects were chosen by Ecotricity founder Dale Vince back in 2016, and in February 2023, work finally started on this exciting Stroud project.
The 5,000-capacity new football stadium will be built almost entirely out of wood and powered by sustainable energy sources, with the whole park comprising of indoor and outdoor pitches, a new training centre, a 1,700-space car park, hotel and care home. And to help promote biodiversity at the new site, around 500 trees and 1.8km of hedgerows will be planted.
Gloucestershire Constabulary decarbonisation project
Gloucestershire Constabulary has invested £1.4 million in decarbonising its police stations across the county. With the eight-month project being completed by Cotswold Energy Group, police stations such as Stroud, Coleford and the Tri-Services Centre in Quedgeley have all seen their outdated fossil fuel boilers replaced with air source heat pumps to maximise their carbon reductions and energy efficiency.
The funding was secured through the Salix Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and also includes the installation of a large solar array at the Tri-Services Centre and identifying and removing asbestos across the three sites.
The University of Gloucestershire’s new City Campus
Gloucester's iconic Art Deco building overlooking Kings Square once housed Debenhams and is currently being converted into a University of Gloucestershire campus, with plans for vast teaching and learning facilities, plus an arts, health and wellbeing centre and a new city library.
The retrofit is underway, with low-carbon design features and technologies including intelligent, sustainable building systems for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.
Hartpury University and Hartpury College Agri-Tech Centre
The £2 million Agri-Tech Centre at Hartpury University and Hartpury College opened in March 2022 and is a feat of green technology, with photo-voltaic panels for electricity and solar hot water generation; intelligent lighting controls; variable speed fans and pumps to reduce energy consumption; heat recovery units; mains water leak detection; and rainwater harvesting.
The leading agricultural technology centre was developed in partnership with GFirst LEP to provide education of the latest smart farming technologies to the agriculture industry.
Cheltenham Town Football Club
Cotswold Energy Group recently completed a massive green energy upgrade at Cheltenham Town Football Club. As part of the £90,000 project, the renewable energy specialists installed an incredible 213 solar panels at the Robins' stadium, which is expected to generate annual electricity savings of £21,000, not to mention huge carbon emission savings each year.
In real terms, the carbon saving scale of this project is equivalent to planting 3,864 trees, which is just under three football fields worth.
Cheltenham Prep Nursery School
Cheltenham Prep School invested almost £3 million on its stunning purpose-built Nursery School, which opened its doors in September 2022. Its outstanding eco-friendly building, designed by architects Roberts Limbrick, won a highly commended award at the 2023 LABC Building Excellence Awards.
The glass-frontage looks out on to an enclosed, landscaped child-friendly garden and play space, providing a modern, inviting and comfortable environment for its very youngest children. Design details include a sustainable cross-laminated timber structure that embodies less carbon than a steel frame while providing the same durability.
Chalford Hill Primary School in Stroud
Chalford Hill Primary School in Stroud and its PTA raised over £13,000 to invest in a solar PV system for the school, which Cotswold Energy Group installed within just two weeks. The panels will save the school an estimated £66,651 on electricity bills over the lifetime of the system (around 25 years), plus it also helps avoid around 1.3 tons of carbon emissions per year, which is the equivalent of planting 248 trees.
The team behind the solar panels at Cotswold Energy Group has been invited by the school to give an assembly talk to the children about how the solar system works, in the hopes it will encourage the younger generation to begin to understand the importance and impact of sustainability and energy efficiency.
The High School Leckhampton
Run by the Balcarras Academy Trust, at full capacity the school will eventually become home to 900 11 to 16-year-olds, with state-of-the-art facilities that include six science labs; 10 ICT suites; a 400-seat auditorium; sports facilities; solar panels to generate its own electricity; and planting on the school grounds and in nearby fields with a long-term commitment made to manage those habitats for the benefit of wildlife.