Oxford colleges, museums, theatres and hospitals are opening their doors to the public to showcase how they are making their buildings more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Residents will be able to Go Green Behind the Scenes during Oxford Green Week, a city-wide festival that uses culture, creativity and community to inspire local people to take action against climate change. The festival takes place between 17 and 25 June.
Go Green Behind the Scenes, which is sponsored by Darke and Taylor, will see sustainability and energy experts leading free tours at the following locations:
- Sheldonian Theatre at 9am, 9.45am, 10.30am and 11.15am on Monday 19 June. Find out how one of Oxford’s most iconic buildings is reducing its environmental impact
- Christchurch Meadow at 11am on Monday 19 June. A tour of the meadow with John James, Head Gardener, highlighting the work to reintroduce wild flowers to the meadow
- Pegasus Theatre at 11am on Saturday 25 June. A building with sustainability and reduced consumption in mind, featuring renewable energy generation, fresh air handling units and light sensors
- Viridor’s Energy Recovery Facility at Ardley at 10am and 2pm on Saturday 17 June (Please note: this event is fully booked). Visit the state-of-the-art visitor centre and find out what happens to your rubbish after it gets collected from Oxford and how energy recovery fits into the waste hierarchy
- Harcourt Arboretum Eco-Pod at 12pm on Saturday 17 June and Saturday 24 June. Phil Clayden, Head of Design at Green Unit, will be in residence to give you an insight into the concept of this unique building and explain its eco credentials
- Green Unit factory at 3pm on Saturday 17 and Saturday 24 June. See where the ARC Eco Modular building system is made and how sustainable components can be put together in different ways to create a beautiful, calm and unique space for bespoke residential or business accommodation
- The Self-Build Home with Greencore at 7pm on Wednesday 21 June. Discuss the realities of a true Grand Design-style project at a stunning five-bedroom home which is nearing completion in Moulsford.
- St Anne’s Library at 10am on Thursday 22 June. A new building designed with sustainability in mind. The first building of its size in this country which is heated geothermally via a loop 65 metres down into the ground supplying heating to the entire building through a matrix of small capillary piping
- Lady Margaret Hall at 5pm on Thursday 22 June. An introduction to the means of renewable energy generation installed at LMH over the last 10 years – PVs, solar collectors and ground source heat pumps
- Oxford Brookes’ John Henry Brookes Building at 5pm on Thursday 22 June. Discover all of the environmental features, including sedum roofs, rainwater storage, photovoltaic panels and a tour of their dedicated Energy Centre which includes ‘Tri-generation’
- Oxford University Press at 10am on Friday 23 June. A short talk on the history of the press then everything from LED lighting retrofits, replanting of internal quads for pollinators, and working with staff to support a 0% landfill initiative
- Leys Pools and Leisure Centre at 11am on Friday 23 June. Discover how Oxford City Council’s latest leisure centre saves energy using solar panels on the roof, state of the art pool covers and a biomass heating system
Jenny Carr, Oxford City Council’s Oxford Green Week event organiser, said: “Many of Oxford’s renowned institutions are doing great work to reduce their carbon emissions and be more environmentally friendly. The problem is, with rooftop solar panels and underground high-efficiency heating, we can’t always see it.
“We are really excited that so many local partners are taking part in Green Behind the Scenes this year. It will be a unique opportunity to discover how some of the city’s biggest names are making a difference to Oxford’s environment.”
Simon Newton, Commercial Director at Darke and Taylor, said: “We are a company that takes sustainability seriously and we have developed our business to deliver the latest electrical renewable and energy efficient technologies. As a company that started life in Oxford and that has worked extensively in the city over the last 60 years, we are proud to be supporting this important local festival.
“Oxford Green Week annual festival is a fantastic event that will provide a fun, educational and cultural way inspire residents, visitors and businesses in Oxford to take positive action on climate change.
“We encourage everyone to get involved in this year’s event to see the great work that is being carried out in and around Oxford, to get involved and to become part of the solution for a greener future in our special city”
Corinne Micallef, Joint Chief Executive at Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre, said: “We are extremely proud of our unique and energy efficient venue. Our building offers fantastic facilities with a strong focus on sustainability and reduced consumption.
“We look forward to showing this off to the public – it’s a side of us that they wouldn’t normally see.”
Booking is essential to attend all of the Green Behind the Scenes tours. For more information and to book, please visit oxfordgreenweek.org.