Feasibility studies show carbon reductions and green livelihood opportunities at the ecovillage

Four feasibility studies, funded by the Just Transition Fund with the aim of reducing carbon emissions, enhancing resilience, and generating green jobs in Moray and Scotland, have been successfully concluded. Image ©Arboreal

These studies involved the collaboration of over 50 researchers from November 2022 to April 2023, and extensively incorporated community input on various subjects, ranging from household heating systems to food purchasing and composting practices.

Several of the feasibility studies are ground-breaking initiatives for Scotland. One of which includes retrofitting a neighbourhood of freestanding, existing homes with ground source district heating to remove LPG from the equation, another creating affordable, self-build homes within a greenhouse structure. The latter affords savings of up to 50% on conventional homes’ heating costs, and the growing space within the “Nature Houses” potentially reduces the costs and carbon footprint of the residents’ food consumption.

As we transition away from gas and fossil fuels towards greater electrification, a comprehensive evaluation of various technologies was conducted. These technologies must work together in harmony to achieve optimal outcomes. 

These include a Low Voltage electrical microgrid, the latest battery and thermal storage, plus smart grid technologies designed to balance the load. For example if we were to build new solar arrays increasing supply of electricity on the one hand, but encourage uptake of more electric vehicles, which consume more electricity on the other, we need a system to manage the supply and demand. 

The studies indicate the emergence of entirely new industries that will not only substantially decrease Scotland's carbon footprint but also generate green job opportunities. One notable example is the utilization of waste glass from Moray demolition sites in greenhouse construction, which can pave the way for a complete circular economy centered around reclaimed construction materials.

Finally, the Building a Local and Resilient Food Economy project forecasts potential carbon mission savings of up to 22 tons in year one alone and a significant increase in production of vegetables under organic methods and pasture-fed meat. Overall, it was estimated that implementing these 4 projects would create in the vicinity of 80 jobs in Moray.

Image ©Arboreal

Summary Project Report

Project 1: The Feasibility Study for an Ambient Ground Loop District Heating System

Project 2: The Findhorn Microgrid and Strategic Framework 

Project 3: The Nature House Feasibility Study 

Project 4: The Scaling Organic Food Feasibility Study