With Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s kind permission and encouragement, in December 2011 we installed a 9.9-kW-peak 44-panel photoelectric array on the south-facing roof of the meditation hall. It produces about 70% of our electricity and is connected to the National Grid.
This Micro Generating System (MGS) is subsidised under a UK Government scheme. The Government guarantees payments to MGSs for 25 years, in the form of a payment for each kilowatt of electricity generated, whether used here or exported to the grid.
The system was purchased for £20,900 and is funded through a short-term private loan. The estimated savings are between £3,500–£4,000 per year. For the first five years, the savings will be used to pay off the loan. In the course of the 25-year agreement, the benefit to Gomde will be approximately £125,000.Wood Fuel
In January 2015, we installed a log gasification system. This has immense environmental and financial benefits. Our buildings were previously heated with oil. With the log-fired boiler we now use sustainable wood harvested from our land — an amazing, free, renewable resource!
This was achieved through the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, a 20-year agreement under which the government pays us to use renewable energy for heating and hot water.
The log gasification system is a large wood-burning stove which stores heat in thermal tanks — an 80kW log boiler with an 8,000-litre hot water thermal buffer tank. It is super-efficient and requires burning once per week in summer, and in the coldest winter, once per day. This size of boiler entitles us to an annual subsidy of around £6,000. We estimate the total savings at £10,000–£11,000 per year.Food Production
The Gomde food garden was started in 2010 during our first year on the Estate. It has steadily but gently grown in line with what could be managed by our steadfast garden team. Last year we added an upcycled greenhouse and overall have increased our growing capacity by 150%.
The food garden brings delight to so many people – through shared tasks, the joy of being outdoors, the wonderment of growing and eating produce as it comes from the earth. Being in the food garden in full production can bring a unique sense of ‘all being well with the world’.
Our teachers, Lamas, Khenpos, residents, visitors and volunteers are all offered our organic fresh produce. Utilising our orchard fruits, we also make compotes, jams (high fruit, low sugar! ) and chutneys which as well as supplying Gomde for the year with jam are also for sale in the Gomde shop. The Food Garden and the Environment
As Gomde moves towards shaping a strenuous environmental policy, the garden takes its rightful place as part of our response to climate change. Our on-site food production gives again as it reduces our food purchase requirements for products with a higher carbon footprint due to national or international transportation requirements. Also increasing our food production will only bring further benefit as it serves as a substitute for food that would otherwise be delivered from other regions or countries. To underpin and enhance these environmental efforts Gomde has also moved to a vegetarian diet, removing the relatively high carbon footprint from livestock farming.
Our range of produce currently includes –
In the fruit garden; black, red and white currant, gooseberries, loganberries, cultivated blackberry, raspberry.
In the orchards; cherries, pears, apples and plums.
In the vegetable garden; runner beans, courgettes, broad beans, leeks, beetroot, sweet peppers, chilli peppers, cucumbers, salad leaves and lettuce, courgettes, squash, tomatoes, asparagus, potatoes, chard, spinach beet, parsnips, brussel sprouts and carrots.
In the greenhouse; tomatoes, sweet peppers, chilli peppers and cucumber.Building at Gomde
It is our aim that all building and development undertaken at Gomde will be energy-efficient to minimise energy load now and in the future, thereby reducing costs and caring for the environment. We are building for future generations. The new Thubten Chokor Ling Temple has been designed to last for 500 years. Knowing all to be impermanent, much emphasis has been placed on the structural design which incorporates proven strength and durability, partnered with simplicity and accessibility for maintenance and repair in the long term.
During all our building efforts since 2010, we have always considered the impact on the environment and continually worked to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We ensure all buildings are substantially insulated, install energy-efficient forms of heating — air source heat pumps, we have installed solar photovoltaic arrays to harvest electrical energy and a log gasification boiler considered to be carbon neutral, for central heating and hot water. Read More