ech2o is pleased to be the lead environmental consultants for Hackney City Farm, one of just 10 community organisations across the UK involved in the final of the Big Green Challenge, which (with a £1 million prize fund) encourages the development and implementation of new approaches that will lead towards a 60% reduction in the community carbon footprint. Hackney City Farm relied on our expertise to identify the best way to achieve their “60 steps to 60%”, an initiative which emphasises that small steps eventually achieve a large target and that everyone has a part to play in reducing carbon emissions.

ech2o carried out a comprehensive carbon audit of the farm and its café, including CO2 emissions from energy and water use on the farm and in the café, CO2 equivalent emissions from the animals and from food waste, and the carbon footprint of travel to the farm from visitors, workers and volunteers. We identified what the farm needed to do to meet the 60% reduction target (both from a technological and a behavioural aspect) and presented this in headline figures, backed up by a series of in-depth reports.

It is vital to understand where and how any building produces CO2emissions. From October 2008 to September 2009, we monitored the farm’s energy, water and gas consumption using a combination of smart meters, sub-meters and monthly manual meter reads to best understand how the farm’s use of energy and water changes across the year. We also designed a simple spreadsheet programme that enables visitors to measure the carbon footprint of their household and to equate that against the UK average.

ech2o’s involvement in this project enabled the farm and its visitors to move from simply being informed about carbon reduction to actually taking action to reduce their emissions. Hackney City Farm has already implemented the suggested behavioural changes and is now fundraising to be able to implement the technological solutions we have identified.ech2o will continue to work with the farm throughout 2010 to monitor how successful it is at reducing its CO2 footprint.

Hackney City Farm 60 steps to 60%