News and features

Continuing to reduce our environmental impact

Glyndebourne remains as committed as ever to finding new ways to reduce its impact on the environment - read on to find out more about our latest results and initiatives

A ban on disposable coffee cups, introduction of cork recycling and increased use of LEDs help Glyndebourne continue to cut its environmental footprint

Eight years on from the launch of its wind turbine, Glyndebourne remains as committed as ever to finding new ways to reduce its impact on the environment. In the period since it was commissioned, the turbine has generated 98% of our electricity consumption, resulting in a 50% reduction in carbon emissions.

Galvanised by this success, we continue to find new ways to make our operations more sustainable. In 2018 we were awarded the highest achievement for improvement prize at the Creative Green Awards, in recognition of our performance in cutting our environmental footprint.

Recent improvements include:
  • 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 site-wide ban on non-recyclable takeaway coffee cups for staff and audience, around 50,000 of which were being used each year
  • Installation of more energy-efficient LED lighting. In 2019 Glyndebourne replaced 236 lights in its back of house space to achieve a 44% reduction in electricity use in that area – enough to power 3,600 UK households for a year
  • Introduction of food recycling to dispose of food waste generated by catering for 45,000 diners each year at the Glyndebourne Festival. The waste is now sent to anaerobic digestion facilities to be processed to produce energy and bio fertiliser for use in growing crops
  • A partnership with Recorked UK to recycle or resell wine and champagne corks, most of which will not break down in landfill
  • A switch to biodegradable face wipes by the Glyndebourne make-up department

The Glyndebourne turbine

Glyndebourne’s 67 metre wind turbine was commissioned in 2012 following an analysis of our carbon emissions that revealed it was the single largest financially-viable initiative that could then be undertaken to reduce our own-generated footprint.

Latest figures show that the turbine continues to outperform its target. In 2019 it produced an annual yield of 1,436 megawatt-hours (MWh) with an average annual wind speed of 5.89 metres per second. This is the equivalent of 92% of the electricity utilised by Glyndebourne during the past year, exceeding the annual 90% target. Glyndebourne recently ran public tours of the wind turbine offering visitors the chance to learn more about its operation and impact.

We recently ran a popular series of wind turbine tours. Photos: James Bellorini

Energy saving

The success of the turbine is supported by a company-wide effort to reduce electricity consumption that has delivered a 50% reduction in energy use per performance between 2008 and 2019.  Some of the most significant energy-saving measures that have been taken are:

  • Modification of the air conditioning system to reduce energy consumption
  • Replacement of auditorium and car park lights with low-energy LEDs
  • Installation of timers and light sensors to ensure that lights are only in use when required

Other longstanding initiatives include significantly improved recycling facilities, on site electric car charging for staff and visitors and a free coach service from Lewes to encourage audiences to travel to Glyndebourne by train.

Glyndebourne is committed to continuing to improve its environmental performance and recently signed up to the Spotlight Programme, which is being delivered by Julie’s Bicycle on behalf of Arts Council England (ACE). Over the next four years the programme will be working closely with 30 of the UK’s largest arts organisations to achieve measurable reductions in energy use.

You might also like

Read our top tips for a Festival visit.
Go behind the scenes to see how some of the production’s the…
Join Louise Alder for an up-close look at the costumes she'l…
Explore our latest job vacancies
Brighten the stage with world-class opera and artists
Glyndebourne Shop
Our online shop offers a great selection of exclusive and locally sourced products. Every purchase supports our work.
Become a Member
Enjoy priority booking for the Festival. Find out how you can join as an Associate Member
Support us
Glyndebourne is a charity and the Festival receives no public subsidy. We rely on generous supporters who are passionate about opera.