About us

Glyndebourne and the environment

Find out how we’re working to reduce our environmental impact, including using our very own wind turbine.

A big part of what makes Glyndebourne special is its location.
Nestled in the heart of the South Downs, Glyndebourne provides an inspirational setting for audiences and artists alike. The beauty of its surroundings drives Glyndebourne to do its bit to tackle climate change.
Video: Glyndebourne and the environment

What we do to reduce our environmental impact

The company has the long-term aim of becoming carbon neutral in its direct operations and has been working hard to tackle all aspects of its environmental footprint. This work is driven forward by an Environment Champions Group made up of staff volunteers.

Steps taken include:

  • Installing high-efficiency gas-fired condensing boilers
  • Making changes to the air conditioning system to lower energy consumption
  • Replacing auditorium lights with low-energy LEDs
  • Installing timers and light sensors
  • Adjusting toilet flushes to save water
  • Reusing 70% of garden waste for compost
  • Introducing a free coach service to encourage audiences to use public transport
  • Installing on-site electric car charging facilities
  • Introducing a ‘cycle to work’ scheme
  • Offering an interest-free loan for staff commuting by public transport
  • Increasing use of recycled paper
  • Significantly improved recycling facilities by switching to a local specialist provider
  • Recycling decommissioned scenery
  • Switching to environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies
  • Introducing a ‘green purchasing’ clause, committing to source from local suppliers where possible
  • Annual industry-recognised certification of environmental sustainability
  • A new waste management contract to ensure Glyndebourne operates zero waste to landfill and a 21% reduction in absolute waste tonnage between 2018 and 2019
  • A partnership with Recorked UK to recycle or resell wine and champagne corks, most of which will not break down in landfill

The impact of these and other changes has been:

  • 50% reduction in energy use per performance between 2008 and 2019
  • 82% reduction in energy-related emissions between 2008 and 2017
  • 24% reduction in water use between 2009 and 2019
  • 21% reduction in absolute waste tonnage between 2018 and 2019

To keep finding new ways to reduce our environmental impact, Glyndebourne has joined the Spotlight Programme, developed by Arts Council England and Julie’s BicycleThis will help us set ambitious targets for cutting our carbon emissions further over the next few years. 

The Glyndebourne wind turbine

The biggest step taken by Glyndebourne was the installation of a 67-metre wind turbine a short distance from the opera house.

Launched in January 2012 by Sir David Attenborough, the turbine has generated 98% of the company’s electricity consumption in the period since it was commissioned. This far exceeds the target of 90% that was set during planning, and has resulted in a 50% reduction in our carbon emissions. The result was achieved through an ongoing energy-saving drive, combined with higher than average wind speeds.

The wind turbine directly reduces our environmental footprint by electricity generation. It also acts indirectly, to do the same by providing a visual reminder to us all to do all we can to tackle climate change.

Glyndebourne’s wind turbine construction

Our environmental awards

Highest Achievement for Improvement award at the 2018 Creative Green Awards
Awarded 4 Star Creative Green rating from Julie’s Bicycle in 2018 and 2019
Most Sustainable Business finalist at the 2015 Sussex Business Awards

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