GreenWood Forest - The UK's first eco-friendly theme park
Posted by Jordan Willis on 22 August 2017 at 9:33 am
We at YouGen are always fascinated by the innovative developments of green energy enthusiasts in novel and interesting areas. A shining example of this are Andrea and Stephen Bristow, the husband and wife team behind GreenWood Forest Park, the UK’s first theme park to be powered entirely by renewable energy. Imagining the amount of energy used in your average theme park, the high powered rollercoasters flying overhead, the rip-roaring log flumes crashing into vast amounts of water, all adorned with thousands of flashing neon lights, is enough to make you weak at the knees (that’s our excuse when we step off a rollercoaster, anyway!). But today’s blog will discuss the ways in which the Bristows have been able to provide a fun and educational amusement park with a low carbon footprint.
GreenWood has long been a pioneer of eco-friendly fun, the famous and unique ‘people powered’ Green Dragon rollercoaster debuted in 2004, which uses the weight of people queuing to go on the rollercoaster to power its current journey. The rollercoaster is 100% energy efficient and even feeds electricity back to the national grid when at full capacity. Continuing the theme, 2016 saw the unveiling of SolarSplash, the first ever solar powered ride in the UK. The ride, involving riding dinghies down tubes as long as 91 metres, is powered by a recently installed solar PV array that also provides 80% of the entire park’s energy needs. The solar panels cost £150,000, but are set to save the park over £1,000,000 in energy bills over the next 25 years on a fixed feed-in tariff. The panels will also reduce their carbon expenditure by 1,700 tonnes.
These efforts have lead the North Wales attraction to be listed in the Guardian’s Green Travel List as one of the top 7 green attractions in the world in 2010.
Stephen Bristow, speaking of the solar PV installation, said: “This gives us a very small carbon footprint and leads the way in the leisure industry where theme parks in particular are well known for their huge consumption of energy. Hopefully other parks will now follow our lead in power generation.”
“We have always taken the view that fun should not come with a heavy environmental price tag.”
However, their efforts do not stop there. As well as the headline catching rollercoasters and flumes, the Bristows have made a number of other positive steps to run a clean and efficient operation. The couple have planted over 500 trees each year since they’ve had the park, now totalling over 10,000 new trees in the area since 1993. 130 cubic meters of rainwater is harvested and reused around the park (for domestic applications of water recycling, see our recent blog). The park also uses biodegradable food and drink containers and sends used cooking oil to be processed into biodiesel.
A belt of trees have also been planted to hide the solar PV array from view, to maintain the traditional landscape and hillside views.
The park regularly welcomes schools for fun trips to learn about renewable energy, and the park also has an information panel to inform their guests of the variety of innovative ways they keep the park green.
From the large and unique to the small and commonplace, Stephen and Andrea Bristow’s efforts are truly inspirational to those who try to live sustainable lives. Located in Y Felinheli in Gwynedd, YouGen hopes that other amusement parks can take stock of the progress made at GreenWood toward an environmentally friendly experience.
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About the author:
Jordan is a full-time intern here at YouGen this summer, specialising in online marketing as well as driving the site forward as part of an ambitious development plan.
Jordan is interested in all aspects of energy and sustainability and has a strong background in social media marketing and engagement.
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