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Making Kelvin Green

One of the things I want to focus on during my time as Chair is to make Kelvin Players an overtly ‘green’ company. Being sustainable isn’t just about wind-turbines or doing the recycling occasionally, it’s about doing the right thing; it’s about integrity; helping to save the planet; providing habitats for wildlife; raising awareness – being good citizens.

In Bishopston, we’re centred in a community which, to a large degree, wants to do the right thing. I’d like Kelvin Players to be transformed into a model of sustainability and a beacon of good practice on a budget. Of course, going the whole hog (or the whole falafel if you’re veggie) can be very expensive. We have enough on our plate at the moment, with the new extension development in planning. However, we can make a start.

There are little wins we can achieve by spending little or no money. We’re already doing some good stuff e.g.:

  • Practically all our stage sets are built from recycled flattage, reused from show-to-show;

  • Our new lighting in the Morris Room saves a considerable amount of energy compared to the previous array of traditional light bulbs;

  • We do recycle (mostly) although we could be more diligent;

  • Bill requested an instant hot-water dispenser for the bar which ‘boils’ the amount of water you need rather than a full kettle (or worse, the Burco Boiler) each time you make a cuppa. It was a nominal spend; · We have replaced the windows throughout with double-glazing;

  • I’ve ordered a couple more (free) cycle racks for securing bikes;

  • The planned new extension is being ethically constructed including a green, sedum roof.

First off, we could go for the quick wins. Sustainable Power - We are now in the process of switching our energy provider from nuclear giant EDF to Good Energy, which generates and sells ALL its energy from renewable sources.

Divestment - Our current bank, Lloyds, invests in fossil fuels, nuclear energy, arms dealing etc. Bristol is home to Triodos Bank a 100% ethical bank. If we can show them we are and are working towards being increasingly sustainable, we could move our banking to them. They offer both deposit and current account facilities (online). Their Charity Current Account gives charities an ethical way to manage their day-to-day finances. The account provides the practicality and flexibility of a current account to manage day-to-day banking and at the same time not compromising values.

Other low cost improvements we could make include:

  • We can move our Jester distribution to online/email by default and only by exception, print copies to mail out. Printing/Mailing costs a small fortune every couple of months – for something that will be read (or maybe not) and discarded in most cases. We will be moving to an Opt-In system rather than Opt-Out – more on this elsewhere.

  • Sustainable renewable – whenever we need to acquire or replace anything, find the best sustainable option e.g.: when a light blows, replace it with a LED – low energy and longer lasting;

  • Make sure we recycle ALL our waste. I’ve ordered a new (additional) mixed dry recycling ‘skip’, so we can recycle everything we can, bottle, and card/paper;

  • Collect and harvest rainwater (initially in water butts). This could be developed so that in due course we could harvest rainwater to flush toilets;

  • PIR light switches in each WC and back-store;

  • Replacing the gravel on our frontage with wild-flowers providing seed and habitat;

  • Solar spotlights to shine on our posters.

There are many bigger ideas I would like us to investigate including:

Installing solar panels on our huge south-facing roof, so we become a generator of electricity providing our own day-time needs and perhaps others locally (maybe as a Bishopston Cooperative);

Create a green wall to the front (at least) of our building which is eye-catching, promotes sustainability, provides insulation and noise reduction, increases biodiversity and shelter for wildlife, reduces cost and protects the façade.

Becoming sustainable provides a reduction of ongoing costs which releases money for other core objectives: an example is that the RNLI got pushback from supporters moaning about money being spent on buildings - not saving lives. With the money saved by having sustainable, lower-costing buildings, they have managed to buy 10 new lifeboats – investors are now on board. I know there’s some enthusiasm in the club for sustainable initiatives. I don’t want to have to do this on my own. I’d appreciate the support of the club generally and the extra support of an additional one or two who would like to help look into other greening options and costs. If you’re interested in helping, let me know. If you strongly object to this course of action tell me why. I don’t want us to be an organisation that does sustainability – I want us to be a sustainable organisation.

If anyone is really keen to get involved or simply wants to make a suggestion, please get in touch with me.


Jonny Wilkinson


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