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.
  • Planning approval for a new event space at Glyndebourne that will be built following closed-loop, circular economy principles. The building’s materials, many of which are normally described as waste, will be sourced from the site or the surrounding area.
  • A new partnership with OLIO to ensure surplus food is shared, not thrown away. To date Glyndebourne has donated a total of 365kg of food, helping to feed 62 local families and avoid 1,574kg of carbon emissions.

The impact of these and other changes has been:

  • 83% reduction in energy-related emissions between 2009 and 2020
  • 55% reduction in water use between 2009 and 2020
  • 81% reduction in absolute waste tonnage between 2009 and 2020, all of which is converted into energy with nothing going to landfill

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.

The turbine was launched in January 2012 by Sir David Attenborough and between 2012 and 2020 it has generated the equivalent of 105% of the electricity used by the company in that period, far exceeding the 90% annual target and resulting in a 50% cut in carbon emissions.

In 2020 the turbine produced an annual yield of 1,820 megawatt-hours (MWh) with an average annual wind speed of 6.4 metres per second (m/s) – its biggest output to date. The previous record occured in 2015 when the turbine produced 1,769 MWh with an average wind speed of 6.5 m/s.

Due to the impact of lockdown, Glyndebourne used less electricity in 2020 than it would in an average year – the excess electricity generated by the turbine was sent to the National Grid to provide a source of green energy for the local community.

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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