Carbon-busting building brings net-zero holidays closer

Henry Wild with the super-efficient solar panels on the roof of the park’s new carbon-neutral building

AN AMBLESIDE holiday park, Skelwith Fold, has cut the green ribbon on a new office complex which can generate all of its own energy – and still have some to spare.

The 3,000 square foot building adjoins the park’s existing offices and has been designed for total self-sufficiency, powering everything from air-conditioning to espresso machines.

Its secret is a bank of high-efficiency solar panels on the roof which will deliver up to 14 kWh per day, even under the gloomiest winter skies.

Skelwith Fold’s Henry Wild says the two-storey complex has taken the park a huge step closer to its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2024:

“We wanted to see if we could make the building entirely carbon neutral, and found this was possible by using the latest solar technology to generate electricity.

The new HQ at Skelwith Fold is built with recycled timber grown on the park

“Even in use seven days a week, the building will still produce surplus power to harness elsewhere on the park and further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

“With the help of other solar panels elsewhere on the park, we are nearing our goal of all our buildings being self-sufficient in energy.

“I also hope that within two years we will create a state of carbon neutrality, and guests will be able to enjoy totally green holidays, even after their journey by car to the park is taken into account.

“The only unpalatable issue here is that the solar panels have to be sourced from China which has its own problems both with human rights and carbon neutrality.

“We would obviously prefer to buy from a British manufacturer, and I hope this will be possible in the future,” said Henry.

The new building’s sustainable credentials are further enhanced by the use in its construction of recycled timber from larch trees grown in the park’s 130-acre grounds.

Skelwith Fold was forced to fell more than 200 larches last year after the Forestry Commission found them to be suffering from a fungal plant disease called Phytophthoras.

Many of the areas left by the trees are now subject to an ambitious rewilding scheme.

The Wild family, which has owned the park for over 25 years, has won a number of awards for its care of the natural world and received praise for its sustainable development policies.

“This was a particularly important project for us, not least because our business draws people to one of the most beautiful but most fragile environments in Britain,” said Henry.

“Tourism spending is essential to Cumbria’s regional economy, and if this can be sustained without adding to the world’s climate problems, I think this needs to be a priority.

There is more information about Skelwith Fold at www.skelwith.com

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