The 5th June is ‘United Nations World Environment Day’, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) are leading the way in showing how sports venues and individuals alike can make a difference to the health of our planet. The climate is changing fast, and the WPNSA is setting an example as to how others should follow in their footsteps. The Academy is meeting renewable energy targets and striving towards the protection of our waters and local coastline for recreation.
The sailing venue for the Games has been described by Natural England as ‘an example of best practice’ in terms of its environment policies. The award winning building has the largest photovoltaic array for the generation of solar energy yet installed in South Dorset, and there is recovery of ‘grey water’ from the roof which is used for boat washing in substitution for mains water. There is also an active recycling programme in place – this has recently extended to recycling old sails and batteries. There are also state-of-the-art motion sensitive lights to ensure that lights are not left on unnecessarily. In addition, there are also on-going measures in place to protect the sensitive environment and the unique flora and fauna of Portland Harbour.
The Academy building was designed with energy efficiency in mind and with this focus partnered with lead sponsor Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). Together they won a prestigious Sport Industry Award for their entry Powering the National Sailing Academy, beating Honda F1, Coca-Cola and E.ON. The judges said that the WPNSA had a, “discernable legacy of environmental concern in action.”
The WPNSA and SSE partnership has provided SSE with both a vital test-bed and a platform to showcase their renewable technologies and products. As well as providing a full environmental impact assessment, an active recycling programme and renewable energy on site, the sponsorship has also donated to the Academy’s youth development. As a result of this sponsorship, the level of renewable electricity increased by 37% in 2007. The association means that the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy is on track to achieve an impressive target set by LOCOG, of 20% of electricity being generated through using renewable energy by the end of 2011.
The WPNSA and SSE will continue their environmental support with the recent onsite installation of a wind turbine. This continues their commitment to meeting LOCOG’s target. Currently, the Academy generates approximately 15% of their electricity and they hope this figure will increase to 20% with the commissioning of this new wind turbine.
The WPNSA was also host to a 2009 Marine Litter Summit in conjunction with the Dorset Coast Forum. During the conference, marine specialists, wildlife experts as well as marine coastal stakeholders from around the UK addressed the problems of marine litter and ways to tackle the sources also touching on the monitoring and clean up of marine litter locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Academy’s commitment to improving the local countryside is also evident through the events that they hold. These include an Endurancelife event which saw runners competing in a Marathon, half marathon and 10k event and most crucially picking up litter along the route to clean up the countryside.
The Academy is currently actively working with the ‘Green Blue’ the joint Royal Yachting Association/British Marine Federation initiative to gain accreditation under the new British Standard 8901 for sustainable events – it is hoped that the Academy will gain this accreditation later this year. John Tweed, Chief Executive of the Academy said, “The Academy – working with the elements of the sea, the wind and the waves, is very conscious of the importance of the natural environment and we hope that on World Environment Day, some of the work undertaken at the Academy can be an example of how modern technologies can be used to achieve a sustainable future and reduce the impact of human activities on the natural environment.”