Sharpham is an exemplar site of sustainable good practice. Here are some of the developments that have taken place recently.
The main house hosts a 200-kilowatt woodchip boiler to heat the grade 1 listed Robert Taylor designed building. The Trust’s second major renewable energy project, making electricity powered by the sun, started generating its first kilowatts in March 2012. The project, the installation of a 48-kilowatt photo-voltaic peak array on the roof of a new agricultural building, is at Upper Sharpham Barton farm near Totnes. The new array produces around 50,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. So successful has this been that the Trust has installed a second solar project.
A small scale biodiesel plant and an Earth Ship provide the tools for a fascinating exploration into the world of low impact living.
An £86,000 refurbishment of The Barn Retreat, which was completed in 2012 included installing a combined new wood fuel and solar thermal heating system that has significantly reduced the amount of fuel needed to keep everyone warm in winter.
A pilot scheme running with Transition Town Totnes under the Quince program is working with next generation leaders and new ways of learning in order to tackle the challenges of the future. Working with the Sharpham Outdoors Project, using practical real life scenarios in a hands-on learning environment, with examples around food production, energy use and resource management including water, make it an unforgettable learning experience. The next phase is to roll it out across the local network of schools and universities, drawing on the experience gained from this pilot scheme.
Sustainability at Sharpham, through the Sharpham Outdoors Project, can offer teachers and tutors practical, hands on experience when tackling sustainability on the syllabus and are looking for a field trip location.