At Lower Norton, we have been made aware of climate change. On the farm the seasons and weather do not seem as predictable as they were when we were young!! We decided that we should try to do “our bit” towards reducing our carbon footprint for the business. To this end, we have invested in three major projects around the kennels.
We have installed a bank of photovoltaic cells, used to produce electricity from the sun’s energy. This means we often do not need to draw on the national grid when washing the pets’ beds and bowls etc. It is amazing when the weather is sunny; even on dull days some electricity is produced; any excess goes to the National grid.
The consumption of water in the West Country should be a matter of concern to us all, despite our annual rainfall. Our water tower catches the rain water from the cattle buildings. After being filtered and treated we are able to use it in the kennels and on the farm; this is one of the best forms of environmental enhancements, catching the rain to use before it gets to the ground. Once it has been used for washing down in the kennels and in our washing machines (pets bedding etc.) the water is piped to our reed bed where it is naturally filtered using specific reeds before it is returned to the soil, the cleanest of water.
This has been our most exciting and challenging undertaking. Our energy requirement on the farm and kennels seemed to be increasing, as the winters get colder, the kennels require more heating to keep our clients’ pets warm and comfortable. Oil is a finite commodity. The solution has come in the form of our boiler, which burns waste wood that has been chipped. The chips are stored in a huge hopper and automatically feed into the boiler, situated in one of our farm buildings. Amazingly when the hot water is piped to the kennels, it only loses 1C. We use in the cattery and reception radiators. In the kennels, underfloor piping provides a perfect solution; the dogs can either lie in a warm or cooler part of the floor. Most choose the warm side!! The whole heating system is thermostatically controlled so all the pets can be guaranteed a warm, snug sleeping area, at no extra charge to the clients. All part of our inclusive charging policy.
Not the most exciting of our developments but one which has reduced the need for offsite incineration of the “waste side” of our kennels and cattery. We now use both biodegradable poo bags and cat litter. These can be composted on farm. No plastic bags or carbon miles transporting the waste off farm, only Richard transporting it to the onsite composter!! Should you wish to learn more about any of our systems please ask when we see you.