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Gaia House is a silent refuge, a place where people can explore and cultivate their potential through meditation. To better represent the aspirations and ideals which people look for when they visit us, we want your help in moving to a carbon-neutral future, avoiding altogether our existing dependency on fossil fuels and reducing our fuel bills.
We intend to install a wood chip biomass boiler and solar thermal panels, to provide for our heating and hot water needs for the future. To achieve this, we are asking for your help.
Our plan is to install a biomass boiler (diagram on left, and more below: click to enlarge) fuelled by locally sourced woodchips to provide for heating and hot water throughout the year, with solar thermal panels supplementing the hot water during the summer. The boiler house and fuel store will be built behind the Hermitage Wing, mainly underground, with a sedum roof and banked-up grassed sides (diagram below on right: click to enlarge).
Gaia House Trust inherited a building that has stood for over 400 years. It has been a spiritual centre for 85 years, and continues to evolve. Our responsibility now is to be mindful of our environmental impact as this evolution continues. With your support we can move towards a more carbon-neutral Gaia House. The most important thing that Gaia House does is to help all of us develop awareness, and this has changed many thousands of lives in as many different ways. We find in Gaia House an anchor for our inspirations. Many of us are passionate about trying to live in a way which respects and cares for our environment.
Right action – why what we do matters
We wish to remain connected to these aspirations, moving towards a way of life here which most accurately represents the ethics and values which underpin the teachings we host. In a time of environmental change, with the world struggling to provide for humanity’s needs, energy resources have become scarce. As an organisation, we wish to move away from the use of fossil fuels in order to reduce the harm that is caused through their mining, processing, transportation and combustion.
Our oil-fired boilers are coming to the end of their working lives and are becoming less efficient at a time when petroleum prices are rising. We will install a 200kW wood chip boiler and 4000L thermal accumulator tank, and an underground heat mains will connect this to the House through the old boiler room. The solar panels will be fitted to the flat roof of the Hermitage Wing, facing south. When these improvements are complete, we expect to reduce our heating bill by 50%, by no longer buying heating oil. All our wood chip fuel will be sourced from local sustainable Devon forests, our solar energy sourced from local Devon sunshine.
The first phase is moving to the biomass boiler and solar panels. Next, we intend to replace pipes and radiators throughout the building. This work will be phased over a number of years, creating a more efficient system. Savings from the first phase should largely finance the second phase, which we expect to commence in 2011. We plan to launch a third phase in 2012/13, with the intention of developing our ability to generate renewable electricity, possibly through a community wind turbine.
The first phase is ambitious, with costs of £150,000, but we have already secured a £45,000 grant from the Community Sustainable Energy Programme. We want to raise £50,000 towards the balance through fundraising with the remainder coming from reserves and through further grant applications.
We are asking you to help us by making a donation to this project. We appreciate that we ask this when money is tight for many, but your donation is hugely important, however large or small.
Whether it is £15 to buy ten concrete blocks to help build the boiler house, £30 to buy a square metre of sedum matting, £50 for a metre of underground heat mains, or £6,000 for the fuel delivery system, it all helps us.
Please be generous. We hope that you will help us to enhance Gaia House’s ability to inspire people, and to help us move away from fossil fuel dependency. Buddhist teachings encourage us to take responsibility for the impact of our activities.
What we do really does matter.
Chairman, Gaia House Trust